KENZO IN SHANGHAï - PART #2 : CONFUCIUS' TEMPLE DINNER - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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We may well wonder about the place of drawing and painting as art and art form in our snap-happy digital lives. Artist Elizabeth Peyton embarks on an unusual experiment to explore the question, blurring lines all the more with her choice of subjects from the realms of royalty, sport and pop.

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Her drawings of Jarvis Cocker and Sid Vicious evoke the intimacy of a sitting, a shared space between portrait artist and model. Peyton shows us the person behind personalities we only know from TV, the web or the tabloids, rendering Napoleon, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles equally human under her paintbrush. This collection of some 200 selected works by Peyton is an unusual hybrid of photographic composition and painting technique.

 

"Elizabeth Peyton", 2005, 264 p. Published by Rizzoli.
Kenzo, 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

Mass advertising’s relentless push to consume can be galling at times, but museums today lap up these valuable snapshots of the language and style of another era. Ad/Art is a collection of advertising artwork by photographer Cheyco Leidmann that takes us back to the 1980s, a relatively short jump in time that underscores how style outstrips everything else in terms of its rapid pace of change.

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The high-color fantasy imagery of 1980s advertisements is a phenomenon all of its own. The stylized reality of this movie-inspired dreamscape is populated by otherworldly models, often with props, such as cigarettes, which today seem outrageous. A time when budgets weren’t a problem and airbrushing was still largely unheard of. Also a thing of the past is the star status that once came with a career in advertising, since the name Cheyco Leidmann means little today.

"Ad/Art", Cheyco Leidmann, 1983, 132 p. Published by Love me tender.
Kenzo, 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

Artist John Baldessari regards images with suspicion. He appropriates them because he can’t help seeing a pseudo-reality or constructing his own. This is the kind of series dreamed up one evening over a beer and a bag of chips. Potato chips come in all sorts of rounded, undulating and irregular shapes that offer obvious comparisons to human features. 

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Baldessari spots hidden faces, closed eyes and prominent cheekbones and presents a gallery of celebrity portraits that can only be picked out by scrutinizing the golden hues and greasy sheen of one potato chip after another. Back to that beer: such a well-judged leap of the imagination from the humble spud elicits admiration as well as wry grins all round. This is art at its most fascinating: poetry emerges from the subtlest twists. Baldessari’s chips –which the cover proclaims as “guaranteed fresh”– are served with a side of humor.

 

 

 

Miracle Chips, John Baldessari, 2009, 96 p. Published by Little Steidl, Gottingen.
Kenzo, 27, place de la Madeleine, Paris.

Now that the 1990s have been relegated to vintage territory, it could be fun to cast our eye a little further back, all the way to the punk era. And this collection edited by Julie Davis is the perfect excuse. Davis compiled gig reviews and interviews with a couple of dozen other punk bands such as The Ramones, Buzzcocks, and The Damned. 

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But never mind the content; the look of this book is what really caught our eye. It is presented as a fanzine, with typewritten copy, stenciled headers, corrections scrawled in by hand, raw black and white photography and an almost conversational tone. This is an unposed, unstyled snapshot of a generous and accessible musical genre for which performance matters as much as being in tune. So what changed? In the late 1970s, style was defined primarily by music (punk, ska, and later new wave), ideas, energy, and of course clothes and attitude. Style today tends to be disconnected from content and the 1970s are considered prehistoric.

 

 

"Punk", Julie Davis, 1977, 96 p. Published by Davison publishing, London.
Kenzo, 27, place de la Madeleine, Paris.

Our Kenyon sneakers are available in our e-shopThey match the colors of our Fall/Winter 2013 collection, primarily organic and terrestrial: lively orange and brown. 

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Click on the link to see our other shoes for men.

Fast fashion would have us believe that the entire free world now dresses the same. Documentary makers Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroeck demonstrate that strikingly rigid dress codes do in fact continue to exist.

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Teenagers, Young Executives, Tattoo Babes, Chairmen and Bimbos all express a group identity through their wardrobe choices. The book documents 58 social groups in 12 portraits. Each portrait is identically framed and shot on a white background, and the “models” have been asked to strike the same pose: “Exactitudes”, is a contraction of “exact” and “attitude”. This volume archives a defined period (1994-2002) but more importantly illustrates the combination of elements that make up a style, and how people are tied up with their social, political or sporting allegiances. A far cry from ready-made fashion.

"Exactitudes", Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroeck, 2002, 128 p. Published by 010 publishers, Rotterdam.
Kenzo, 49, avenue George V, Paris.

Galore takes magazine publishing back to its retro roots. Clearly wary of the constraints of modern technology, the editorial team has produced something closer to a fanzine. In an era when publishers are born with a mouse glued to their fingertips and a Mac never out of their sights, Galore seems to be breaking free of fonts and grids to bring the focus back to illustration, scissors, paste and all.

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Galore revels in retro 1970s glam, complete with a pin-up calendar and illustrated and photographed buxom beauties. Black and white features heavily in pages printed on newspaper in a mishmash of font styles. Galore follows the successful formula behind David Bailey’s Ritz, Andy Warhol’s Interview and its French equivalent, Façade. 100 deliciously carefree pages straight out of the sexy sixties.

Galore, n°1, 2012, 100 p.
Kenzo, 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

Last Wednesday, our KENZO Kalifornia bag made its debut in L.A. surrounded with our favourite girls : Devon Aoki, Jessica Alba, Langley Fox and Rashida Jones who sported different colorways of the bag.

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It was in the most famous club in the Bund, Unico, that our afterparty was happened. DJ Falcon, French member of the Daft Punk family, joined us between bookings in Miami and Bangkok to celebrate the beginning of a love story between KENZO and China!

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After the opening cocktail, our chinese guests (blogger and stylist Han Huo Huo, photographer Chen Man, supermodels Ming Xi and Ju Xiaowen, faifhful friends and respectively icons of our Fall/Winter 2012 and Spring/Summer 2013 campaigns) and Japanese friends (adorable actresses Rila Fukishima and Kozue Akimoto) joined Carol and Humberto for an exceptional KENZO dinner.

 

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Temple of Confucius (Wen Miao), great historical and cultural site of the city with a traditional decoration, illuminated by lanterns printed with our Lotus Eye, was the perfect setting for a gastronomic dinner designed by superstar chef Jereme Leung. DJ Ben Huang was performing with a guzheng player throughout the beautiful dinner. The president of KENZO and his guests spent a lot of time wondering what vegetable was used to sculpt the amazing flying tiger in the center of the table. Dj Falcon was on the verge of tasting the tail of the poor sculpted animal when Wendy - Humberto's mom - finally told us that it was a pumkin!

 

After a spectacular desert revealed through the smoke of a cloud, our guests extended the evening on the famous Bund, colonial historical avenue where former banks were replaced by hotels and hip restaurants with a view on the other bank buildings. Futuristic Pudong.