Kenzo Menswear A/W12

Humberto Leon and Carol Lim's first menswear show was inspired by the Internet generation's take on suiting

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It's a tough task taking over design duties after Antinio Marras, especially when you have no real experience of running a major Parisian fashion house. Or perhaps that's an advantage. A clean slate, a fresh approach and new eyes on how to create exciting menswear. Well, they aren't brand new... Humberto Leon and Carol Lim AKA Opening Ceremony did it once with their 'once-only-a-shop-in-New York-but-now-a-worldwide-fashion-instituion' concept, and by the looks of it they can do it again, this time with Kenzo. Showing (far out) in a train depot, the design duo opened up with wool suits in subtle grey and beige colours.

"A big influence was when the Internet became a big thing... it changed how business people dressed, especially younger people"

That gave us a slight false impression of the collection because soon bright colours poured in from all over. Burgundy fish tail parkas, quilted paisley bombers, orange shoes and yellowish green knitwear pieces lit up the show. Not that it need help, but fluorescent neon goal post installation spread even more light and warmth. The main themes were bomber jackets, raglan shoulder coats, check on checks pattern and - most def - paisley prints. This ensured the collection had a strong graphic identity and - together subtle coats and suits - made sure Leon and Lim not only respected the Kenzo traditions but brought that little extra, that crucial 'newness', to the table. 

"The brand is so rich with colour and print traditions. We wanted to play around with classic menswear prints like medallions, paisley, stripes and plaids"

Dazed Digital: What was your starting point?
Humberto Leon:
We wanted to break down a menswear wardrobe and really just start with the most fundamental; suits, trousers, dress shirts and re-work the idea of them...

DD: Was there anything in particular that inspired you?
Humberto Leon:
A big influence was when the Internet became a big thing... it changed how business people dressed, especially younger people. All of a sudden there were these guys who had just graduated from college but were making millions. We even thought about Steve Jobs and how he might have thought about wearing...

There was this moment in the early 90s when we were supposed to be doctors and lawyers and then the Internet happened, start ups popped up all over. But they didn't have suits, just had to wear what their parents could pass on... but they mixed the jackets with chinos, or maybe they wore New Balance trainers instead of shoes.

DD: There are plenty of prints ans patterns in the collection...
Humberto Leon:
Well yeah, the brand is so rich with colour and print traditions. We wanted to play around with classic menswear prints like medallions, paisley, stripes and plaids.

DD: How do you see the Kenzo menswear develop?
Humberto Leon:
We're trying to continue the story, this was the foundation we wanted lay down. Each season will look towards different aspect. This time around we focused on the commuter, the idea of people travelling to and forth work - and we want people to continue on that journey with us... 

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