In just two seasons, Kenzo - under the creative direction of Opening Ceremony founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon - has been transformed into a desirable brand that all the kids want to get a piece of be it a collaborative New Era cap, a pair of printed Vans or one of the ubiquitous logo sweatshirts, which were dotted all around the audience at the show. If bygone sportswear influences have been key to driving this newfound success then for spring summer 2012, there was a fresh kick of sensuality, which ensured that neither Lim or Leon are simply resting on their laurels. It must have been down to the heat of the jungles in Thailand visited, where Lim and Leon both went to try and discover their own take on the iconic Kenzo Takada store Jungle Jap in Paris.
Whilst elements of utility still run through the collection - in the safari jacket detailing, patch pockets on cropped jackets and popper button running up dresses - they've also mixed it up with more delicate and sexier features such as lingerie derived spaghetti straps or exposed wiring of a bra on a bustier dress. It was a safari journey that traversed between the casual; well-formed denim jackets with printed panels, yes, more of those sweatshirts and parkas and dresses ripe for the jungle; off-the shoulder tops and cut-out sun dresses. Leather boots with drawstring tops were made to take on this urban safari trip.
It has to be said that Lim and Leon, being of Korean and Chinese descent, were careful not to create anything too literally Asian and the prints in the collection were where they told their journey best. They came to life on a giant projection cuboid in the middle of the judo hall venue as the backdrop for the show. There's subtlety in their referencing that is reflected in the Thai forest prints, where the foliage has been distorted through night goggle glasses. The duo have have also not yet touched a full-on floral print in their collections to date but they're edging closer with a camouflage leopard print that also hint at exotic blooms.
Another duality exists in the duo's work for Kenzo though - just as they embrace the new with fresh in-house editorial content for the Kenzo website, they also worked with Jean Paul-Goude, an early Kenzo collaborator on the campaign. Likewise, this collection is well rooted to Takada's vision but takes it forward for a new generation, something that we're already witnessing on the streets.