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Kenzo AW15, Dazed backstage, Womenswear, Paris
Backstage at Kenzo AW15Photography Virginia Arcaro

Kenzo AW15

Forest dwellers enswathed in layers and florals serve as a homage to the brand’s history – surrounded by moving holographic trees

Initial reaction:

Carol Lim and Humberto Leon transfer the spirit of Kenzo Takada’s jungle to a forest where a community of women show camaraderie through a simultaneous adoption of the blanket – as capes, coats, skirts – and by cocooning themselves up in warmth-inducing layers: she’s at one with nature. Lim and Leon also seem more eager to reference the richness of Kenzo’s history with florals making a return (albeit in nocturnal form) and square paillettes, fringing and beaded embellishment adorning this tribe of forest dwellers. “The idea is that they live in this community where you combine protection with something quite feminine,” said Leon after the show. “A Kenzo woman might take a blanket and make it into a skirt or a jacket. It’s a celebration of that history.” 

The atmosphere:

In an air hanger space on the outskirts of Paris, we were faced with a blue and green striped background. As the show started, the space seemed to shrink as the backdrop moved towards us and proceeded to split into seven wifi-controlled holographic pillars that spun around in a choreographed dance. It turned out that they were an extreme representation of trees in their magical forest. “We loved how industrial the space was – we like this idea that everything isn’t what it seems,” said Leon. “In a forest, that also happens metaphorically as well as physically. We wanted these women to feel like they were dancing with these abstracted pillar trees.” As the holographic “trees” moved around in unison, breaking away and coming together again, they revealed Saint Etienne at the back, performing two specially composed songs “You Don’t Own Me” and “After the Rain”. “We met listening to Foxbase Alpha,” said Lim. “For us, music is such a big part of our lives and we wanted something uplifting that also had a strong presence.”

Kenzo traveller:

Kenzo has a heritage of dressing women whose eyes travel to eclectic places. It’s no coincidence that many of the looks – from the layering, to the way heads were wrapped in scarves and embellished hoods – recalled the movement and verve of Hans Feurer's photographs of women looking dramatic in Kenzo clothing, out in far-flung locations. “For us, we wanted to pay a tiny bit of a homage to a retrospective of imagery that Takada had built and we wanted to give our interpretation of all of that.” Lim and Leon evoked Takada’s penchant for worldly eclecticism once more.