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Kenzo SS15

Inside a Parisian skatepark complete with a digital avatar called Knola, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim present their vision for the future

TextSusie LauPhotographyLea Colombo

Initial reaction:

The future is bright. The rise of the machines shouldn't be feared. The world is smaller and all the better because we're that much more connected, with the ability to fly where we want, when we want. These were the thought processes that Humberto Leon and Carol Lim were thinking about when they designed their SS15 collection with qualities like transparency, purity and air being translated in free-flowing looks of denim, mesh, broderie anglaise and euphoric graphic prints. “We were really into this optimism for the future,” said Leon after the show. “It's a future that's very close to us, not a space age future. We wanted to think about what that meant. We're definitely embracing technology and looking at what is our vision for the future – cleanliness, purity, the right energy and about being responsible.” “How do we play our part in this?” added Lim. “We both have kids now and the future is definitely on our minds right now.” In a suburban skate park with concrete blocks undulating in waves and steps like the syncopated rhythm of 21st century life and with Disclosure’s mix thumping through us, we watched as the models interweaved between screens depicting waves, sunsets, Tokyo at night, New York in the day and airplanes flying off somewhere far, far away. Leon and Lim made us feel like we were lucky to be able to see and experience all of that be it virtually or physically. 

Global citizens unite:

Kenzo Takada himself excitedly congratulated Lim and Leon after the show. Takada had a vision for a global fashion citizen gathering up the best of what different nations have to offer. His fans had the look of an urban nomad but today, Lim and Leon’s Kenzo customer is a real and working active urban nomad, travelling from one place to another either par avion or through the internet. Lim and Leon distilled optimism for the future, not into a cacophony of prints and ethnic references as Takada did, but with a clean cut aerated silhouette and accessories that nod to the future without screaming it, as seen in the moulded cut-out kitten heels and the rubber handled bags. It’s the same vision that unites the duo with Takada but with a language that speaks to a new generation.

Her name was Knola and she's a real person…:

As we entered the skatepark space, Knola greeted us on several giant screens in English, French, Chinese and Japanese, as though we had entered some surreal shopping mall of the future. Knola was in fact an avatar based on a real person hidden backstage, with her every move and expression mirrored in real time. “She represents this multi-cultural vision of humanity in the future,” said Leon. What race/ethnicity was she? Why was she quintilingual? We couldn’t be sure and we didn’t have to know the ins and outs. We’ll all be speaking the same language soon enough.

The soundtrack to Kenzo SS15: