I was a willing walking billboard for Kenzo on Sunday as I donned a mix Kenzo knit, leopard spots, some stompin' shoes and a quilted blanket for extra warmth to accost front row guests arriving at the beautiful and iconic location of La Samaritaine for the Kenzo A/W 13-4 show. In truth, I was only doing what so many have done, by willingly and devotedly paving the way for Kenzo's revived form of logomania as once again, there were multiple sightings of Tiger faced sweaters, New Era caps and Jungle Jap 2.0 pieces in amongst the audience. I've been told the number of Kenzo sweatshirts shifted has surpassed 20,000 with a consistent waiting lists for the different sweatshirts that come in. That speaks volumes.
Brand groupie aside, putting on a temporary Kenzo roving reporter cap on and welding a microphone at the show was definitely a fun precursor to the collection itself. In a surreal swooping bird's eye view video, which we created with Humberto Leon and Carol Lim using a remote-control camera drone, we soared to the heights of Paris' iconic but now defuct department store La Samaritaine. It was all too easy to connect the amazing gold wall friezes adorning the top level of the building, and its peacocks and mixed up art nouveau slash deco motifs, with the well-travelled exotica of the collection. Leon and Lim looked to some rare Kenzo Takada ribbon dresses from the archives and found Takada's old haberdashery where these grosgrain ribbons were made. They used ribbons to paint landscapes of Indian, Nepalese and Chinese temples and likewise those places informed the jacquards, lurex and repeat bands of prints featuring the Eye symbol as a protective element, which courses through the collection. The world explorer spirit of Kenzo Takada's original Jungle Jap store lives on but beats to the heart of the streets, where round-shouldered bombers, sweatshirts and graphic wrap over skirts have become a cohesive urban language for Lim and Leon to apply their funtastic motifs. These are clothes that arenot haute but hot, in the popularity stakes, and that's a striking achievement when you see it all playing out in real life. An ongoing jewellery collaboration with Delfina Delettrez and chunky metallic heels that are both an eyeful will no doubt be stomping their way out from catwalk to the streets, preferably to the soundtrack of M.I.A.'s Matangi mixtape.
I don't think I've ever worn an outfit solely consisting of ONE label only. Save for the Cast sunglasses and the Meredith Wendell x SFK camera strap (which slotted right in), everthing from belt to shoes to blanket to tea cup in hand come courtesy of Kenzo. There's no complaining about monobranding that is this cheery. That could also have been down to the weather on the day of the Kenzo show, when the sun had come out for the first tme during PFW. In any case, high spirits, chirpy knits and a shot of herbal caffeine combined together for these big stride shots.