One of our favourite fashion blogger - Susie Bubble - was at La Cité du Cinéma yesterday for our Spring/Summer collection and we give you her very sharp point of view of the show.


"If previous Kenzo women's collections by Humberto Leon and Carol Lim were rooted in Kenzo Takada’s past, then Spring/Summer 2013 was about looking to their own roots, specifically in California, where they both hail from.  The ocean has been mined to death in fashion as a recurring inspiration theme but Leon and Lim, looked at the vast magnitude of the Pacific Ocean and its life giving abilities to transform a far flung La Cité du Cinéma in the suburbs of Paris into a pulsating and dramatic interpretation of being under the sea.   Hundreds of speakers filled with water and lit up in blue and white lined the runway ominously.  Then they started thumping with a bassline created by Paris-based band The Aikiu.  If we any of us in the audience were vaguely bleary eyed then the soundtrack was sure to jolt you back to life. 



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Far off into the distance behind an impressive veil of water tumbling down like a waterfall or as though you might have been down under the sea, one by one the models would emerge.  Not as mermaids or other cliched diaphanous sea creatures that often appear when designers mine the sea as a source of inspiration but as women, who have soaked up California beach culture and managed to traverse between looking laid back and pulled together.  That was down to Lim and Leon opting for sharp tailoring.  Quite literally it’s “smart casual” summed up in ensembles that ranged from cropped trousers and jackets blocked with black, to laser cut leather jackets with the open backed vents of a sleeveless tank to shorts and skirts with zippers that flower into slips.  Waved edged crop tops were the more literal nod of waves of the sea but wet look fabrics that looked like they were glistening in water were a far more subtle nod to the ocean’s might.  Everything had a swift ease about it that was to put into a neat nutshell, Cali-Kool.  Or is it Kali-Cool?



There was of course a point to looking to the ocean as Kenzo have partnered up with marine conservation charity The Blue Marine Foundation with a line of men’s and women’s sweaters and t-shirts to financially assist the foundation.  The cause was echoed in the collection as the logo-ed sweatshirt that we’re so used to seeing at Kenzo was replaced with a more pertinent “No Fish No Nothing” slogan sweater.  That’s sure to be a bestseller, especially since there’s a cause to support.  That Lim and Leon thought to involve activism with the brand was definitely a shift from the conventional collaborations on the runway.



Hence why there were also hand drawn prints, which featured heavily in the collection were also deliberately chaotic and scrawled, highlighting the problem of overfishing and pollution.  They eventually turned red just to emphasie that there would literally be blood on our hands.  On an aesthetic level the scribble prints were easy on the eye, particularly when they were panelled into different shades of blue onto a boxy denim jacket.



On the accessories front the Kalifornia - a fusion of K for Kenzo and Lim and Leon’s Californian roots was the focal point accessory, emerging in all shades of blues, greens and textures that evoke the sea. Giant spring cord necklaces reminded me of bike lock-up keys that you mind find in Venice Beach.  I was particularly engrossed in the trainers/sneakers that Kenzo had come up with on their own.  It seemed inevitable that after their collaboration with Vans, they should come up with their own trainer option.  They balanced out with the metal grill rectangular heels that punctuated the collection. 



What impressed me most though, beyond the water feature theatrics, is the way Lim and Leon have broadening Kenzo’s design language.  Sportswear rooted ease still anchors their work but they’re not resting on their laurels and continue to give more of themselves into new gen Kenzo.  As the show came to an end and the models once again became a blurred mirage behind the wall of water, we were invited to go and have a look - an inclusive touch that other designers are now adopting.  The beat kept on pounding from the catwalk of water-filled speakers, as if to represent the pulse of life that Lim and Leon have breathed into the house".


Check Susie's blog here.