I was recently reading Dazed & Confused (the September issue is REALLY GOOD, you should go and buy it). This is the one with Azealia Banks (my favourite artist at the moment) on the cover doing this, which got this issue of the magazine banned in Singapore, Dubai, Malta, Switzerland, India and Thailand.
I don’t really care to be honest, probably because I’m young as my mother would say, but that’s who Azealia Banks is, sexual and exciting, so I think a condom aptly symbolises that. Anyway, I was flicking through the magazine as you do, saw this and stopped in my tracks.
WTF? First it was an extremely striking image compared to some other ad campaigns and also it was a two-in-one! What an amazing idea! Also on closer inspection the clothes are amazing too! I LOVE the extremely luxe sweatshirts and the gold is fantastic. Then as I went on what did I see… A feature on Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the creative directors of Kenzo and founders of unofficially the coolest shop in the world (or at least New York), Opening Ceremony (which I visited today and was AMAZING with super friendly staff and a GREAT selection though probably I’ll post about when they land in London for good later this year, supposedly October 2nd/9th Kenny in the menswear dept says…)
So I had to blog about them.
I think that this Kenzo, the one with Humberto and Carol as creative directors is Kenzo 3.o because Kenzo 1.0 was with the founding designer Kenzo Takada who started the brand in 1970 in Paris and continued to work on the brand until 1999. I wasn’t around then (sadly I missed the 90’s so can’t comment). Kenzo 2.0 was after that with Antonio Marras as a designer and eventually creative director until his departure in 2011. The clothes he designed were good but there was little versatility in the overall style from season to season, dresses were still maxi, fabrics light and breezy and patchwork the order of every season, which is ok … but when fashion these days ( me talking like an oldie) is so rapid, some change is needed for people to take notice. After a few seasons of checking the collections of his I stopped because, frankly, they were kinda boring. When he left in 2011, Vogue.com posted that he was going to be succeeded by Humberto Leon and Carol Lim who I knew ran Opening Ceremony with youth and splendour but because I was so off Kenzo I didn’t bother to check their first collection for the brand (SS12 womenswear). How stupid I was!! Because their collections (Kenzo 3.o) are amazeballs. I love how they have made Kenzo youthful and more accessible. The collabs with Vans and New Era (more Vans for me) have made Kenzo finally appeal to an audience that wants to buy clothes: young people (DUH)!!! I might actually be able to get one of the Vans + Kenzo sneakers since I checked the Kenzo website, which I must add is super trendy with its own ‘Kenzine‘, and they have them on for 90 euros with 10 euros for delivery to the UK. This amounts to around £80 which is affordable :D, if I don’t buy much winter clothes 😦
I also really like what they have done for the main womens and menswear collections. For the first collection they did, SS12 womenswear, they used a simple pattern over and over again to great effect in different items of clothing or just block colours with juxtaposed proportions. And of course, Chloe Sevigny was there. It was a cool and confident collection like the others that were to come.
The AW12 collection was more sartorially influenced with less streetwear and tailored items. Still there was the covetable tiger sweater that features in the campaign and more novelty prints included.
The mens collections, the main draw for me, were slow to start with the AW12 collection quite simple but still good with youthful and streetwear elements mixed nicely with suits and tailored items, like the bomber jacket suit with trousers that are tailored but have trackie cuffs. There were long beautiful coats and lots of prints on different items which worked well with some particular looks.
For me however the SS13 collection was much better as it had a focused vision and clear theme. There were also many standout pieces, like the tiger sweaters and yellow leather biker jackets. Many gorgeous prints here too but they were more focused in the looks presented and also the oversized, boxy fit shorts were AMAZING. the mix of different materials in some of the items works very well especially with the mac with printed silk sleeves. The colour yellow is very abundant in the collection as with the jungle references because Humberto and Carol looked to the label’s history and the Jungle Jap brand that Kenzo Takada premièred in 1978 . You can see how long the cap’s bills are in the background of one of the photos. I also really loved the staging for the show with the models made to walk round the hall, then one by one got onto the yellow podiums at the end. The parkour was the most original.
Dazed Digital has an interview with Humberto, it shows the epic parkour and he explains the ideas behind the SS13 show