Kenzopedia #21: U is for ...Underground - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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Julien Ceccaldi is the French-Canadian illustrator and graphic novelist who created the signs of the KENZODIAC. KENZINE catches up with him to hear more about his work and for travel tips from Montréal.

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KENZINE : What is your star sign, and how does it define you ?

Julien Ceccaldi : Like Conchita Wurst and Charles Manson, I have the sun in Scorpio with Taurus rising (two polar opposites). This combination makes for satanic power, moral endurance and a whole load of self-love.


K : Which sign did you enjoy drawing the most ?

J.C.I had a laugh drawing Leo’s hand: it’s talon-like, but it also takes inspiration from Lady Gaga’s Monster Claw, the symbol of her fandom. I am also quite proud of how the water turned out in the logo, and the Pisces and Aquarius signs.

K : Do you find that the style of Manga suits the KENZO woman somehow ?

J.C. : KENZO as a brand reflects a pop mentality that you find in Manga. For instance, the Hokusai wave influences in the Spring/Summer 2014 collection made me think of a short story by Shôhei Kusonoki. It’s an interior monologue coming from a vase abandoned in a stream, and the water runs at different paces, in all directions across the page.

K : Where do your inspirations come from and is there a continual idea you try to project through your work?

J.C. : For my comic strips, I take snippets of conversations from here and there - in a café or in Youtube videos for example – all situations in which one hopes to be in control of the image they're projecting. Everyone struggles trying to best represent themselves, and  it's even more of a challenge to have others accept this image.

K : At KENZO, travel informs everything we do. What are your favourite destinations around the world?

J.C. : Everything becomes clear in my head each time my private jet lands in Los Angeles. I love Biarritz, especially in the winter. I never realized how much I loved the beach until this summer, but then let’s remember that Scorpio is a water sign...


K : You live in Montreal, can you recommend some places to visit?

J.C. : The Drawn & Quarterly bookstore (211 Bernard Ouest) has to be at the top of my list. There you can find the great graphic novels from the publishing house of the same name, but that's far from it all. Just across the street there is La Lumière du Mile-End, a tiny little vegan restaurant. I am a major glutton when it comes to the pastries from a bakery called Maestro, just a five minute walk down the street. Once the sun goes down, I try to be wherever DJ Babi Audi is playing.


K : For Autumn/Winter 2014, the ouevre and femme fatales of David Lynch were amongst the core inspirations. Who are your artistic heroines?

J.C. : In the graphic novel Brother, Dear Brother (by Ryoko Ikeda) and in the animated series of the same name, the character Fukiko-sama is the Queen Bee of her school. She is elegant, haughty, frosty and authoritative, but under her mask of pride she mourns a childhood love that lasted but a week. The boy in question was her older brother’s friend, who read her a Shakesperean sonnet he was studying for school. She says to have experienced a lifetime's worth of love in one summer. I am also fascinated by Catherine Breillat’s heroines, who often live by the same “all or nothing” creed, except they don’t impose such paralyzing self-restraint on themselves. On the contrary, their grace comes from the way they reject the idea that love and bodies are quantifiable.

K : Which KENZO icon are you most drawn to, the Tiger, the Eye or the Fish ?

J.C. :I would have to say the Eye, because like any other fan of Manga I have filled pages and pages of eyes – not faces, not even noses, but just the eyes – enormous and filled with reflections.

Summer holiday season is upon us, and the last item on your packing list should be consulting the KENZODIAC for your August horoscope according to KENZO!



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Head to KENZODIAC now to read what the stars have in store for you, along with illustrations by  Julien Ceccaldi


Happy Holidays!

New month, new horoscopes!

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Discover our July astro tips on Kenzodiac! The star sign of the month is Cancer, a water sign known sensitivity and intuitivity.

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.

Go Whale-watching on an L.A. Harbor Breeze Cruise.

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This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our tenth and final installment of the series is about water activities!


Go Whale-watching on an L.A. Harbor Breeze Cruise
Just sit right back and I’ll tell you a tail- a whale’s tail that is, while you’re aboard this three-hour tour. Blue whales, the largest mammals on the planet, once hunted to brink of extinction, are thankfully still around, and can be found in record numbers off of Santa Monica Bay. Never seen one of the most amazing creatures on the planet in the flesh? Well now’s your chance to see them up close (safety for the animal and passengers will determine how close). And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see it expel from its blowhole, which can sometimes reach 30 feet or more. Sheer beauty and sheer power, the blue whale is a definite sight to see on the L.A. Harbor Breeze Cruises.


100 Aquarium Way, Dock #2 in Long Beach. 562-432-4900 

Kayak through the Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island.

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This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our tenth and final installment of the series is about water activities!


Take a ferry from Santa Barbara and head to California’s biggest island, home to the largest and deepest sea cave in the world (nearly a quarter mile long and one hundred feet wide). At the Painted Cave, named for its colorful walls, explorers can paddle or float down into its deepest, darkest chambers. For those worried about getting “trapped”, visit in the spring when a waterfall flows over the entrance/exit. The cave can be difficult to access due to the Nature Conservancy, which owns and manages the northwest portion of the island where it’s located, so it’s best to go through a travel company.

Stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, and fishing are optional. 805-899-4925 www.channelislando/painted-cave-kayaking.php

Ride a dolphin at La Laguna de San Gabriel at Vincent Lugo Park.

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This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our tenth and final installment of the series is about water activities!


Creatures of the sea come to life in this make-believe lagoon playground. Dozens of oversize ocean-themed concrete sculptures, designed by artist Benjamin Dominguez in the 1960s, are as fun as they are noteworthy. You can crawl over a sea serpent, climb and perch on top of a giant octopus, and even slide out of the mouth of a pink whale. If you’re looking to actually get wet, there’s a one-foot-deep gated pool for kids to splash around in.

Corner of Wells and Ramona Streets in San Gabriel 626-308-2875

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.   


Buy our Sunglasses online.

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.