Tête à Tête: Jean-Paul Goude

The current KENZO Spring/Summer 2013 campaign was revealed two weeks ago and Jean-Paul Goude took some time to answer a few questions for us. He comes back on our second collaboration, gives us his vision for the brand and explains how he conceived the two "X" advertising campaigns. He talks about how he works and who inspires him.

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Kenzine Can you talk about your long time acquaintance with the brand and how it feels now with Carol and Humberto? Do you think they work in the spirit of Kenzo Takada?

Jean-Paul Goude It seems I’ve known Kenzo all my life. I was introduced to him in the eighties when I was rehearsing the Grace Jones’s One Man Show at Le Palace in Paris. Though we actually never worked together, I remained a fan forever. I like the idea that Carol, Humberto – and to a very small extend myself - have been given the task, I should say the mission, to hopefully revive and insure the continued existence of a style originated 40 years ago by it’s founder. I see it as an exciting prospect and a great opportunity to introduce Kenzo’s children to today’s world…





K JPG, the Fall/Winter campaign 2012 was an outright success with many people suggesting it was one of the strongest of the year, how does that make you feel?

JPG Very good!

K JPG, where did you come up with the concept for the Fall/Winter 2012 ad campaign?
JPG I was looking for a strong image that would mark the brand’s territory without sacrificing its spirit. An image that could almost be used as a logo and would enable us to show the new Kenzo silhouette.

K Why did you decide to reprise it, in a sense, for the Spring/Summer 2013 ad campaign?
JPG Simply because it seemed a shame to waste such a strong idea on a one shot. I personally had this urge to give it more mileage, so to speak, and, to give the graphic principle of the campaign a chance of hopefully stick into the public’s “collective unconscious”.





K Jean-Paul, in general you are noted for your use of strong colors, seen nowhere better than in the KENZO campaign for Spring/Summer 2013. In this instance you used bright red as the focus for the background. Where does this rich use of color stem from?

JPG It’s true that I’ve always like colors that pop, and that bright red combined with the emerald green of the Kenzo logo really pops!




K Jean-Paul, your methods are fascinating, can you let us know traditionally how you work on a project such as this?
JPG I work like an illustrator, from the blank page to the finished image.


K Do you start everything with drawings?
JPG Yes, almost everything. I work in stages : first the idea/concept/premise, and the sketch. Then come casting, styling, followed by the shoot itself, and finally, the computer. A method that can be a little time consuming, but it’s the only way I know.


You have influenced different artists/photographers/designers the world over, who influences you?
JPG Tons of people… like Gruau, the master fashion artist whose posters I could admire on the walls of Paris when I was a kid, to George Loïs, the creative genius and author of the best magazine covers ever published, Avedon, Penn, Bourdin of course, Norman Rockwell, Reginald Marsh, Wegee,  the French New Wave cinema, Amercican Musicals, Pina Bausch…you name it!


K What is the best advice you have ever been given?
JPG "Be yourself".