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Can’t get enough of Kenzo

The Japanese-French maison is almost having too much fun this season, releasing collection after collection and reinventing heritage pieces and prints

Think of a reimagining of what the greatest stars of the silver screen would wear today, and add a twist of the modern and swaddle it all in what should be clashing prints and colours.

As if America’s sweetheart fashion couple Carol Lim and Humberto Leon weren’t #businesscouplegoals and #careergoals enough, the design duo has released not one, not two, not three, but four collections for Kenzo this year, with the SS18 collection kicking it all off in a flurry of coolness. 

Next up was their capsule collection, La Collection Memento No. 2. Leon and Lim conceived the La Collection Memento series to pay tribute to the House’s founder, Kenzo Takada, and his previous work, recalling and updating some of his more famous looks. 

This capsule collection was all about jeans and the cool things you can wear with them, in celebration of the brand launching its Jeans line in 1986. The duo focused on a heritage cut and a carpenter jean for men. Think relaxed fit, oversized garments and dark denim juxtaposed with burnt orange looks. One standout was a kimono-inspired jumpsuit — a key item in the range. Kenzo being Kenzo, there’s bound to be some colour, in this instance bright Hawaiian florals and bamboo motifs — vintage prints from the maison’s archives — to break the monotony of the denims. 

Think of a reimagining of what the greatest stars of the silver screen would wear today, and add a twist of the modern and swaddle it all in what should be clashing prints and colours.

Accessories were fun and very ’90s-inspired, from bum bags to backpacks and totes and floppy sunhats. There were some head-to-toe combinations in slightly silly jungle prints that frankly, we can’t see any non-model pull off, but hey — you can’t have it all.

The star of this collection, and a true winner, is the jumpsuit, reimagined in some exceptionally clever ways, including some startlingly cool mash-ups such as the overall version, somewhere between a workman’s overall and a fashion jumpsuit. 

And let’s not forget that Britney Spears, sporting her new facial features, starred in the campaign for this collection, looking not a day over 19. The queen of pop hasn’t before turned her hand to modelling, so thankfully she had veteran photographer Peter Lindbergh directing her shoot, which turned out charmingly well. 

Get inspired

Richard James

Pocket Square Abstract Butterfly
AED 225.00

Richard James

Contemporary Shirt Butterfly Print
AED 780.00

Thomas Royall

California butterfly ‘luca’ shorts
AED 425.00

Richard James

Pocket Square Abstract Butterfly
AED 225.00

Then there’s La Collection Memento 3 — to say this is jungle inspired would be like saying Donald Trump has damaged America’s diplomatic relationships. During the show, models walked covered in greenery, sometimes so covered, that we’re not sure how they managed to walk in a straight line. It’s beautiful, it’s vibrant, and most importantly, it recalls Takada’s obsession with jungle prints throughout the House’s history. The more casual pieces have an almost 1970s-era Alpine charm, looking like something Heidi would have frolicked in on the foothills. Perhaps our favourite thing about this collection is the uber ’80s chunky sweater updated for the modern man who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Who says you can’t throw a crazy print on a cardigan and make it work? Lim and Leon have shown that you absolutely can. 

And then, ladies and gentlemen, comes the big one: Kenzo AW18. This stunner of a collection, which features some truly knock-your-socks-off pieces, would seem a little incoherent, with no commonality, until one realises that Leon and Lim used the overarching theme of “cinema” as inspiration. 

“We aim to capture the duality of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Sayoko Yamaguchi. We look to Ryuichi’s personal flair when questioning the norm, and to Sayoko’s ability to mix patterns, prints, silhouettes, and colours.”

- Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, Kenzo

Think of a reimagining of what the greatest stars of the silver screen would wear today, and add a twist of the modern and swaddle it all in what should be clashing prints and colours. The silhouette is boxy — typically achieved through knee-length coats — paired with skinny trousers, in every fabric you can imagine. 

The collection is also rich in colour and texture, with waxed cotton garments featuring colour accents placed alongside reflective fabrics, zip-up nylon blousons, floral jacquards and innovative use of leather, such as in beaten up cardigans. 

And in keeping with the coolness of The Kenzo Jumper, the vest cardigan is making a comeback, especially worn over a top in contrasting colour and material, and will be seen on hip kids from Paris to Tokyo to Cape Town.

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