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.
Product Highlight #5 : The Kalifornia bag
Photographer: Rory van Millingen
Stylist: Annabelle Lacuna
Model: Zen @ IMG
Hair: Kota Suizu @ Caren
Make-up: Nami Yoshida @ The Book
Retouching: Charlotte Player
The Wave Crest
At KENZO, Carol and Humberto have made technical precision and unexpected silhouettes the grounding elements of their contemporary vision. So continues the duo’s unique multicultural mash-up: this season their Americana roots married with the skilled tailoring and construction of the Parisian maison.
For Spring/Summer 2014, Carol and Humberto drew on the perennial summer vibes of their Cali roots: the sun-bright skies of the West Coast, the endless beaches, and expansive Pacific Ocean all set the mood for the collection. As did the easy-breezy sense of style that the locals are renowned for. Skirt lengths skim the upper thigh, t-shirts are cropped, and tailoring is oversized, allowing for a comfortable, casual kind of chic. The season’s must have cropped pants are slashed at the knee to give greater ease of movement and let in that blissfully cool sea breeze. These ‘vents’ carry the breeze through into jackets and dresses as well, details that prove that there is more than meets the eye to the collection.
Such innovations are found not just in the cutwork but also in their exploration of the wave crest — the touchstone for this particular collection. Fabrics ‘swell’ away from the body and the belts, attached to skirts and pants, cinch the garments and add volume to existing layers.
The crest appears throughout the collection in motif form as well, in a variety of incarnations. It’s used on the wave-like hemlines that lap at the models midriffs, shins and thighs on various styles, and is employed for panelling, creating a patchwork effect on some of the dresses and tops that looks like the fabrics are melting into one another. The wave crest is there again in the prints, as a hand-scrawled illustration that captures the movement and flow of water.
…Catch it if you can!
Whether abstract or figurative, the wave is one of the iconic designs of our Spring/Summer 2014 collection. It is clearly inspired by the Pacific Ocean whose waters lap against the California coast, the homeland of Humberto and Carol and paradise for surfers from all over the world. The perpetual ebb and flow of waves also brings to mind constant renewal, a concept that has always been near and dear to the brand.
This “wave crest” can be seen not only in the prints of this collection but also cuts, unique to the brand’s couture heritage. Large cut outs on the sides of numerous tops and coats offer glimpses of curve of the back and intriguing overlay designs.
All images and gifs by Jess Bonham. Set: Anna Lomax
To best convey the atmosphere and themes of our Spring 2014 collections for men and women, we collaborated with director Hala Matar and actors Anton Yelchin and Lydia Hearst. The movie seeks to incite the mood and spirit we associate with America's West coast and more importantly the ambiance of early 1960’s. A good introduction to our main inspiration of the season. Welcome to California!
It takes place with our two protagonists riding around a set in vintage cars, arriving at different locations reminiscent of those in old Hollywood movies. The hair is gelled, the conversation is stunted. The atmosphere brings us back to how we feel when watching a Rock Hudson movie and when we look at photos of cocktail parties in Palm Springs. For the director the connection between the cars and the collection is that they “both share the timelessness and classic feel”. For us, the wave prints recall an age of visiting the beach during the heyday of 60’s surfers.
Both Anton and Lydia embody the leading man versus ingenue qualities that we used to see in movies from the swinging decade. The music, borne of a collective of live musicians, a mini-orchestra narrating the action in each scene, effortlessly channeling the dance between man and woman, love and regret.