Kenzo Womenswear A/W12

Home is where the heart is for Carol Lim and Humberto Leon’s second womenswear collection for Kenzo

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As we rode up the escalator up the architecturally stunning Université Pierre et Marie Curie, colour coded by floor and lit up by neon lights, we knew we were in for an unconventional treat. Carol Lim and Humberto Leon of Opening Ceremony’s appointment as creative directors of Kenzo may have been an unconventional one but any shadow of a doubt of their ability that they were up to the job would most certainly have been wiped out by their latest collection. The spirit at Lim/Leon era at Kenzo is covetable and fresh and it’s down to their nous of mixing and remixing what is relevant for the customer today, keeping things contemporary and upbeat.

We were really inspired by this idea of tailoring. We wanted to introduce this hint of femininity that we were really in the mood. It was about architecture and about a girl trying on clothes in her closet and we wanted this closet to be really dynamic

They looked to the home’s interior and all its nook and cranny interiors to eke out inspiration for the collection. This resulted in a cornucopia of patterns and textures that had a broader range than their S/S12 debut - curtain-esque burgundy velvet suiting, sofa-clad nubbly olden wools, marble prints swirled with potpourri-derived prints, knitted sleeves on coats that mimicked blankets on beds and a touch of the literal chintz developed by Lim and Leon's friend, Spanish art director juan Gatti, who created a grape print, an alternative to the ubiquitous Kenzo floral staple. Another collaborator (you get the feeling that Lim and Leon have more of those up their sleeve) Delfina Delettrez created a collection of enamel filled bangles and preserved walnuts in resin for a strange touch that veers between the naturalistic and the false. 

The tiger was an element that Kenzo Takada had as an icon early on. We wanted something that was very iconic for the brand that we could really own and we felt like the tiger was such a strong statement for it

The Kenzo tiger, an early motif from Kenzo Takada’s collection was resurrected and given a new lease of life on casual sweater that is sure to be a hit with the retro logo hunter, the type who wears vintage Versace or Moschino tees. Zippered pieces, fabric innovations and a general ease about all the pieces gives Kenzo an uplift, that already sees a fresh and new customer wearing S/S 12 pieces in the audience. With fifty looks descending an escalator to traverse three floors, it was a lot to take in visually, but Lim and Leon’s point must have been to emphasise their identity and their distinct remix-a-lot point of view, ushering in an exciting time for Kenzo.    
 
Dazed Digital: What was the starting point for this collection?
Humberto Leon:
We were really inspired by this idea of tailoring. We wanted to introduce this hint of femininity that we were really in the mood. It was about architecture and about a girl trying on clothes in her closet and we wanted this closet to be really dynamic. We were really inspired by interiors - we imagined sweaters hanging over mattresses so there were sweater sleeves on coats. So it was about different ideas from interiors merging into another and it was about creating something that was for today.
 
DD: What was the thinking behind using the Kenzo Tiger motif?
Humberto Leon:
The tiger was an element that Kenzo Takada had as an icon early on. We wanted something that was very iconic for the brand that we could really own and we felt like the tiger was such a strong statement for it. This is the beginning of it and you’ll see it more and more in the future. It's really exciting for the brand.
 
DD: You also steered clear of floral patterns once again but hinted at it in the collection?
Humberto Leon:
We looked at florals a bit differently and we really decided to focus on potpourris so we photographed real florals and made potpourri patterns out of them. It was almost to treat the florals as decoration and we wanted to respect the flower and not just throw it in for the sake of it.

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