Kenzopedia #17 : Q for...Quirky - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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Zips are one of the key details on KENZO pieces this season. Look out for the zips forming the emblematic K - the symbol of our fashion house – on leather pieces such as our Kalifornia bag and our ‘K’ perfecto jacket

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Using the zips to create the K twists these classically inspired pieces to forge originality that is quintessentially KENZO. The zips are oversize and extravagant, a nod to the excess of the 1980s and the punk aesthetic that triumphed the use of zips, which were a major source of inspiration for the collection. 

At KENZO, we have been sharing our favorite recipes that have been influenced by the themes of the collection. 


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Last season, Petit Comité drew inspiration from Asian and Indian cooking to offer us recipes that were as delicious as they were surprising.

With summer just around the corner, Chefs François Pasteau and Olivier Roellinger taught us how to reconcile the protection of endangered species by cooking delicious fish dishes using pollock, mackerel and black mullet. Yummy!

Carol and Humberto belong to what is known as Generation X, as they were both born in the mid-seventies.

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Their generation epitomizes the uninhibited 1980s creative emancipation that was perfectly embodied by subcultures and counter culture movements like punk.  Carol and Humberto have manifested the spirit of Generation X in their re-appropriation of KENZO, constantly diverting classical French fashion codes to create the unexpected; going from darkness into light, from humor to seriousness.

For the Spring/Summer 2014 collections, Carol and Humberto drew on the defiant and militant characteristics of Generation X and mixed them with the spirit of celebration and optimism that is quintessentially KENZO. 

Waves are a significant theme of the KENZO Spring/Summer 2014 collection, both in the engineered ‘Wave crest’ tailoring and in the waves prints across the men and women’s collections.

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Carol and Humberto have managed to collate a plethora of influences from Orange County ‘80s punk culture to 19th century Japanese engravings,  drawing together California and Japan; two areas separated only by the Pacific Ocean. Japan’s peculiar geographic situation as a volcanic archepalago surrounded by water has meant that the wave is one of the most popular motifs of its artists’ engravings and paintings. The most famous ones are those by the artist Hokusaï (1760-1889), including ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’, which depicts a natural phenomenon that is as beautiful as it is hypnotic and intimidating.  

Read Alice Cavanagh’s inspiration piece on the wave crest in the collection here.

KENZO loves all things quirky and unexpected that make you look twice. Trompe l'oeil is a French Renaissance art term that literally translates to "that which deceives the eye", and our summer sunglasses play on this visual trick, becoming trompe l'oeil jewelry.

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The arms of the colorful frames are adorned with marble-like pearls or hoops, which when worn playfully create the illusion that you are wearing earrings.

Devon Aoki wore the ‘Marble’ sunglasses in our Spring/Summer 2014 campaign by TOILETPAPER - just one of the surrealist images that epitomizes the atypical spirit so dear to KENZO.   


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Carol and Humberto have both fostered a love of underground cultures since their teens, and they love to juxtapose the disruption of those influences with more conventional mainstream codes. They forge their singular approach in particular through their creative vision for KENZO; from their different artistic collaborations, to their choice of photographers for the campaigns and the eclectic composers they pick for the show soundtracks.

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The duo constantly draws inspirations from underground cultures, which translate into strong visual touch points in the KENZO collections. For Spring/Summer 2014 ‘80s punk bands such as Black Flag, skateboarding and unconventional beach cultures were all celebrated. This Autumn, David Lynch’s Americana and experimental cinema will be next.


Discover more about some of the underground influences of the KENZO Spring/Summer 2014 collection:

‘Scratch your name on my Arm’ by Deanna Templeton.
The Underground music scene in L.A. by Milly McMahon.
Mike D. from the Beastie Boys.
Malcolm Maclaren’s British Punk.

Alex, the lead singer of The Aikiu composed the soundtrack for the KENZO Spring/Summer 2014 women’s show.

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Based in Paris, the band’s first album “Ghost Youth” came out last June. The soundtrack Alex composed for our show intertwined deep and aquatic sounds with heavy rhythms that were almost military in their style; particularly enigmatic as pulsating water speakers placed the length of the catwalk bounced to the beat as the models marched.

Alex is also the assistant of legendary fashion-photographer Jean-Paul Goude, who shot our Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter 2012 campaigns.

Listen to the The Aikiu’s KENZO soundtrack here:


Skate culture and Los Angeles go hand in hand. For Spring/Summer 2014, KENZO drew inspirations from both. 

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Our collaborations with Vans and our emblematic skate board “Era”, with multicolor prints fresh from our different collections, have all paid tribute to the deep connection between skateboarding and the city of angels.

Last November, we launched our new Kalifornia bag in “The Berrics” - the legendary L.A. indoor skate park. On that occasion, a crew of female skaters put on an impressive show by performing choreographed skate sets up and down the dinner table, turning it into a rail or a funbox in a heartbeat. One of them, Vanessa Torres, has shared her favorite spots with us in her recent interview with Kenzine. 


Red is the color used par excellence by activists and militants, which perfectly epitomizes KENZO’s rebellious spirit this season. Red is strong and energizing; it excites the emotions and inspires people to action. 

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Red stands for passion and the possession of an ambitious spirit. It is vibrant and full of life, yet it also alludes to danger. This complex mixture serves as a thematic background to the collection, in particular the partnership with The Bluemarine Foundation to fight against overfishing and ocean pollution – a topic very close to Carol and Humberto’s hearts.
Red is one of the colors of Spring/Summer 2014, perfectly contrasting with the palette of oceanic blues that prevail.


See the Red High Waves collection here.

KENZO is a dedicated champion of quirkiness, as highlighted once more in our Spring/Summer 2014 campaign created in collaboration with our friends from TOILETPAPER


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On this occasion, the artistic duo was inspired by the oceanic themes of the collection, and played upon aquatic images to create a unique universe as weird and unexpected as it is playful. KENZO muse Devon’s sunglasses light up with shrimps, while her shoes swim in an aquarium amongst goldfish. In one of the standout images from the campaign, model Paul lands a doubly lucky ‘catch of the day’; not just a pretty magical-looking rainbow fish but also our lovely muse …Devon!


Quirkiness at KENZO knows no bounds, and next it is to the bizarre and at times unsettling eye of artist and film director David Lynch to which we turn for the Fall/Winter 2014 collection. Just remember that things are not always as they seem…

To get your hands on all the images from the Spring/Summer 2014 campaign by TOILETPAPER, head to one of our KENZO boutiques to pick up a collector's edition of KENZINE issue 2, limited to just 2000 copies worldwide.