KENZOPEDIA #17: Q for... Quest - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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The Zygomaticus, or the set of 17 smile muscles, was the obvious choice to wrap up our KENZOPEDIA.

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Kenzo Takada was known for his beaming smile and his ability to switch from laughter to intense concentration from one second to the next. These days, his successors Carol and Humberto are adept at working their zygomaticus and that of everyone they meet. Fun is an attitude, a mood and a way of grasping fashion.

Since taking the helm as artistic directors for KENZO in July 2011, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon have succeeded in reviving the fresh air and creative energy that invigorated the brand in its 70s heyday.

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With vibrant colors, modern cuts, digitalized prints, unexpected events and amusing campaigns they brought to the streets, the pair has managed to capture the spirit of the house, all the better to add their trademark twist. This youthful energy is their signature: raw, spontaneous and urban. The streewear pieces of the collection brings a younger generation of KENZO fans to our community and they have a playful attitude towards fashion and themselves. 

 

The letter “X”, the ultimate symmetrical letter and the symbol of crossings, has always been part of our DNA but Carol and Humberto organised its first comeback in Jean-Paul Goude’s campaign for Fall/Winter 2012. Two dancers – one male, one female – forming an X, were incorporated into the KENZO logo. 

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The image can be flipped like a playing card. Roles can be exchanged. This idea behind the visual was too good not to be used again in the Spring/Summer 2013 campaign. With the “X” now recognized as a new symbol for the brand, the campaign is decidedly anchored in the collective memory. And people recognize it, this fall, as a stylistic pattern of the women's collection on skirts, dresses and pants inspired by the kimono.

Carol and Humberto are aficionados of new technologies. Their hyper-connected lives are shared online on social networks and KENZO is a playground where they experiment new digital forms of expression. 

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They constantly place innovation at the core of our house codes: last June, for example, they chose to present a holographic version of our Fall/Winter 2013 collection, during the LVMH Journées Particulières. Kenzine and our constant presence on social networks could be an other illustration of this statement and tell everything about Carol and Humberto's inspirations, showing you the behind the scenes and giving you a live coverage of the brand activity. Innovation will also transform our retail more and more with digitalized new spaces, connecting all aspects of the house in a 360° digital experience.

KENZO and Vans have teamed up four times on different capsule collections. Season after season, the Vans Authentic, chukkas and Slip-Ons were covered in the iconic prints of the brand and the limited edition kicks sell out in mere days. KENZO creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim were keen to impart a classic American aesthetic into the Paris-based label. 

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"Since our childhood in suburban L.A., we've been fans of Vans and own too many pairs to count!" they explained. "Vans is one of the iconic American brands and we liked the idea of infusing this bit of American style into the house of KENZO."

KENZO is where casual meets elegance. This fusion has defined the brand since its creation in the 1970s. Carol Lim and Humberto Leon grew up in L.A. urban culture where they were inspired by the easy going Californian street style. Today, they continue to draw from urban inspirations whether it's the streets in New York to the avenues in Paris.

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They infuse modernity to the KENZO wardrobe with streetwear pieces like sweatshirts, caps, varsity jackets, biker jackets and sneakers, twisted with the key prints of the season.

The tiger is alternately seen as a symbol of longevity, energy or protection. The carnivorous mammal with the striped coat roared back into life in the KENZO Fall/Winter 2012 collection. Now synonymous with the brand’s newfound energy, a color-embroidered tiger head takes pride of place on unisex sweatshirts, tee-shirts and other accessories, making it a must-have talisman to survive the urban jungle.

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This season, our favorite animal is reincarnated as a flying tiger exploring the jungle in the sky and its embroidered head comes in brand new colors.

This fall, you discovered our jungle of the skies. A celestial theme pervades the prints in the men’s and women’s collections: Daytime and Nighttime clouds, in blue or red, lightning bolts, raindrops and stars appear on skirts, trousers, jackets, coats and even in the accessories and jewelry.

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The KENZO tiger is reincarnated as a double-headed flying creature and joined by other reptiles that populate the sky jungle.

Serious foodies Carol and Humberto are as passionate about fashion as they are about gourmet cuisine. Always eager to try out something new, the globetrotting pair whet their appetites with recipes from the four corners of the planet. They readily divulge their latest food obsessions and favorite eateries on Kenzine.

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But it wouldn’t be right to talk food without a shout out to Humberto’s mom Wendy, whom he lauds as one of the most inventive and talented chefs he knows. Wendy is renowned for her ability to rustle up any dish you can name and she shares her lip-smacking recipes quite often on Kenzine. We also regularly publish recipes inspired by our collections. This month, they are all dedicated to Indian cuisine. Stay tuned !

Travel is an essential part of the KENZO story. Kenzo Takada left his native Japan in 1965 on an odyssey which would end in his conquest of Paris.

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He later flew to Peru, India and Africa in search of inspiration. It was travel as well that inspired Carol and Humberto to found Opening Ceremony and showcase designers from Hong Kong, Brazil, Germany, Sweden, France, and the rest of the world. And it is still that quest to discover new places and new cultures that inspire them for the KENZO collections. Last season, we trailed the jungles of Thaïland. This season, we went on a mythical trip to India, Nepal and China, and next summer we will take a ticket for the sun, in California.