CAROL'S HOLIDAY PICKS
Trying to find the perfect holiday gift in the midst of the holiday madness? Carol has made this personalized gift guide to some of her favorite KENZO pieces that are on her list this season!
1. THE CAROL SCARF
Could you guess the Carol Scarf is my favorite scarf from the collection? It's wool-silk blend is warm and soft, and we made it extra big to be extra cozy.
2. THE LUCY SCARF
The print on this mirrored-flower print Lucy Scarf came out great on the deep blue background.
3. THE DAFFY LACE LOAFER
I wear these lace-up loafers all the time! They're sturdy and comfortable, so I can wear them all day and into the night.
4. THE HOODED PEA COAT
This quilted peacoat has a pretty combination of subtly contrasting navy and forest green. The size is big and cozy but still sleek and feminine.
5. THE WOOL COATS
The wool coats with knitted sleeves in this collection are awesome - I love the shape with the big collar and belt.
6. THE BASKETBALL JACKET
I love the yellow and black "KENZO" embroidery on this clean baseball jacket.
7. THE TRANSPARENT CLUTCH BAG
This bag has so many of my favorite elements - the small clutch size, the transparent case, the marble print - and it feels both light and sturdy!
8. THE SMALL ZIPPED BOWLING BAG
This is another piece from the collection I use all the time - it's just small enough to carry everywhere and and large enough to carry everything.
9. THE CREW NECK CHECKED SWEATER
We love to go for that balance of subtle enough to wear to work but vivid enough to wear out, and this checked sweater really gets it right.
10. THE IPHONE COVER
I just got an iPhone and now I get to deck it out in marbles AND grapes?
HUMBERTO'S HOLIDAY PICKS
Trying to find the perfect holiday gift in the midst of all the holiday madness? Humberto is here to help! He's made this gift guide to some of his favorite KENZO pieces that he's picked up for loved ones (but not always telling for whom!), or been eyeing for himself!
1. These pants are in my favorite marble diamond print!
2. I love for everything possible to be reversible, and this puffy jacket that reverses from paisley to solid red is one of the best examples of reversibility in action
3. I got this sleeveless medallion print top for my mom for her birthday. The flair at the waist is super cute on her!
5. I'm obsessed with the amount of flair these cute jeweled snap buttons bring to this button-up blouse.
6. The combination of the green paisley logo stitched onto this sweatshirt in blue is my favorite colorway!
7. I have these medallion print shoes and they're so comfortable with the strong sole and soft top together.
8. The little tiger guy on this K-shaped keychain will spruce-up anybody's keys!
9. We just had to put the medallion print on pants too, and I love the way the subtle colors of this one come off together!
10. Can you tell we had a lot of fun designing this color-block t-shirt? It's one of my favorite pieces from the collection!
INTERIORS + NEONS = GHOSTBUSTERS
Neons and interiors, two of the fundamental themes of our Fall Winter 2012 collections, collide to dazzling effect in this 1983 video for Ray Parker Jr.'s Ghostbusters' theme song. Watch Ray run around in a Dan Flavin-esque haunted house made of neon lights, with cameos by Chevy Chase and Danny Devito, interspliced with movie clips: you're in for a post-Halloween neon treat. Only 300-something more days until next Halloween!
THE MARBLES OF VERSAILLES
The Palace of Versailles may be known for its fabulous gardens through which Marie Antoinette and three different King Louis (XIII-XVI) once galavanted, and its metamorphosis from Louis XIII's country hunting lodge to foremost symbol of France's former absolute monarchy to modern Parisian suburban palace/tourist magnet. But the sheer amount of small details within the palace and its gardens that are not only noteworthy but breathtaking is astounding. We wove a bit of the palace's glory into our Autumn Winter 2012 collection, after Humberto and Carol visited and became obsessed with one specific grandiose detail: the marble.
Though much of the floors and walls in the palace are covered in beautiful wood and stone and painstakingly painted ancient paintings, much of it is also covered in some of the most gorgeous marble we'd ever seen. And not only the floors and walls and ceilings but the mantel places, doors, stairways, railings, and entire ballrooms are made of exquisitely carved marble in a beautiful array of colors and patterns and emblems. Inspired by the stately beauty of the marble, we created our own marble pattern on pleated skirts and dresses, shirts, and not to mention those Vans, before moving further into exploring the entire world of interiors throughout the collection. Check out some of the photos from the very trip that inspired the collection, and some others graciously provided by the people at the Palace of Versailles themselves, above.
TÊTE A TÊTE: ANDREW KUO
Have you heard the new tunes playing at the KENZO stores? A little Animal Collective, a little Beck, a little Vampire Weekend, a little Taken By Trees, to get your feet really moving while you browse. We'd love to go on and on about the whole list, but instead we enlisted someone a little more qualified to talk about it: our friend, the artist formally known as the maker of the playlist himself, Andrew Kuo. And check out Andrew's NYTimes page with his amazing graphs here and his music blog here.
How did you go about picking songs for the Kenzo stores' playlist? Was there a specific mood or style or region you thought was appropriate or necessary?
I have never been more thankful for iTunes as I am when I'm going through songs for a playlist! For the Kenzo mixes, I go through all the songs on my computer as well as some late night MP3 hunting. I look for beat-heavy songs that aren't boring to me. I'm a sucker for a melody.
Is there some sort of a story arc, or any hidden messages within the playlist?
That's funny, because every song has a different meaning for every person. A lot of the songs in the playlist remind me of great and not-so-great times in my life. Sometimes I worry if I tell someone a secret, that that feeling will go away. I feel the same way about music sometimes—if I play someone a song that has a specific place in my brain, it stops being there. So yes, there are hidden messages everywhere. Whether or not they are interesting messages is another story.
What's your favorite song on the playlist and why?
Of all the songs in the latest playlist, I have to say CEO's "White Magic" is my favorite. It has all the elements of an epic song—a slow build up, strange/catchy melodies and a big finale! CEO is one half of The Tough Alliance, who are also pretty great.
What is your most played song on iTunes (and what's the play count)?
It's the Dirty Projector's version of "Rise Above"! I wouldn't have guessed that. 149 plays? It's an amazing song, but maybe I left it on repeat by accident once?
How did you get started making such mind-bogglingly detailed graphs? Were you ever interested in math, or were you just aesethically intrigued by graphs?
Don't let the glasses fool you! I am terrible at math. But I've always been drawn to charts/diagrams and big colors. I started making the charts for my music blog when I got bored of writing. They've changed a lot since then—now I make charts about everything. Most of them are paintings, but I still work a lot online.
Do you write down all of the thoughts you document as you have them and then quantify them later, or do you prefer to work from memory? You must either have a really quick hand or a really good memory.
I don't write down as much as I should, but I do have pieces of paper everywhere in my studio so I can write down random thoughts as they come to me. Most of it is nonsense, though. Maintaining a Twitter profile is also a way for me to track my thoughts. I also send a lot of texts to myself. Taking pictures is also a good way to take notes. Technology is awesome!
What upcoming concert are you most looking forward to?
Animal Collective in October! I can't wait for James Blake to come back. JJ too. I wonder if Burial will ever play a show?
CARL BURGESS + THOMAS TRAUM = MARBLE PUNCH
Carl Burgess, a.k.a. MoreSoon, is a London based filmmaker and designer. Through his work he combines the digital, hi-tech, and modern world with human emotions and humor. Kenzo recruited Carl for to work on "Marble Punch", our Fall Defile 2012 video. For this project he teamed up with long time collaborator Thomas Traum, and the two of them took a moment to talk to us about their process and inspirations for this project.
How did the idea behind "Marble Punch" come about?
We started from the print patterns which we absolutely loved. We were fascinated by the idea to create an environment directly inspired by the prints in which the clothes would blend in or be in some kind of dialog to the rest of the scene. We imagined this powerful woman walking through this environment crushing and smashing things.
How did you go about designing the marble interiors in the video?
We looked at a lot of modernist houses for inspiration, for example Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona house, and californian modernist houses from the 50s-60s. If you look carefully you can see sections of Rohe's Barcelona pavilion. Also we looked at some perfume ads from the 80's, their minimal stripped back styling.
We were interested in using this kind of pinnacle of modernist design and reproducing it in a very flat "default 3D" look. The default look helps us showing the amazing KENZO patterns as they are. We thought its interesting that in the end the rooms still keep that modernist feel and airy sophistication even after being only reproduced in such a minimal way.
What was the first video you worked on? What came first, graphic design or film?
Carl: The first what I would consider proper video I made was a promo for a band called Ratatat. It was made with stock footage I had collected over the years edited together into an unsettling compilation. It was before I had ever shot anything so it was a good way of being able to use actors in a creative way with no budget.
Thomas: I generally work less as a director myself, but I have done a lot of animation work. I was never into classic graphic design, more into interaction design and motion. Same as Carl, I worked a lot on interactive experiences for films. I generally try to mix animation with technology, be it a music video, concert visuals or websites.
Does your work as a graphic designer permeate into your work as a director?
I think if you want to make something look good in motion you need to first master the skill to make something look good in a still frame. I learned a lot about colours, proportion which helps you a lot. I think directors and designers also share the obsession about details. I see myself more as an image maker, if its still or motion.
What's next for MoreSoon / Thomas Traum?
We are working on a new project called T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C. It'll be all about creating new pieces of work clients wouldn't necessarily commission us to do but we think are really relevant. It will be a personal reflection on things around us we find very fascinating at the moment. From face tracking to domestic ass shake videos to the instant realtime web.
TÊTE A TÊTE: MACIEK POZOGA ON SHOOTING NEW ERA STILL LIFE CAMPAIGN
What was your inspiration for the New Era x Kenzo editorial? What was the mood you were going for?
As a main influence I looked at a lot of De Chirico's paintings and some classic sculptures in the Louvre from random places and periods. I was looking for a very classical mood, something intemporal in a way, and anachronic.
Were you formally trained as a photographer, or this is something that naturally evolved from a habit of taking pictures?
I was trained as a painter, in Beaux Arts school, and then that evolved into photography, snapshots initially. What I really liked about photography was the editing process, and the ability to tell stories. And most of all being [able to work] outside the studio.
There is a subtle quirky element to your work, something that gives a surreal feel to your photos, almost like a documentary. How much of your style is premeditated and how much comes from spontaneity?
I like to imbricate both things, spontaneity and "mise en scene" staging. I often think of the whole as some kind of little stage, and then I let people or situations be within that stage. Something more naturalist than "documentary" actually. I recently read something about how the 19th century French physical intructor George Hebert initially came up with his "Natural Method" of gymnastics, gestures that were inspired by real life movements, to develop the human body harmoniously in a natural way. I kind of do the same with photography I guess; catch some real things, imitate some others, and then blend it all together and try to build some sort of harmony out of all those elements.
You also edited a book called "Naufrage Volontaire". Can you talk about that a bit?
I did this little book with the people of JSBJ. The title means something like “Shipwrecked on Purpose” and it refers to Dr. Alain Bombard’s experiment. He deliberately drifted alone across the Atlantic for 65 days in a lifeboat with no provisions, and the book is a kind of meditation on that.
What was the last thing you googled?
"Gymnastic natural Method", I couldn't remember if I made up that whole thing about the physical instructor, or if it was really something I read somewhere.