"a wholly cinematic experience" BY ALICE CAVANAGH
"There was a distinct chill in the air in Paris this morning, but showgoers kept warm outside the show venue by sipping on cups of black coffee from KENZO coffee mugs. Inside, the scene was set up with wooden structures center stage and graphic markings on the runway. This was an imagined industrial community complete with tin roofs and raw interiors.
Continuing their love for all things Americana this season Carol and Humberto looked to the Pacific Northwest drawing from the region’s industrial work culture and majestic scenery. As such, the KENZO Fall Winter 2014/2015 man they envisaged is a hard-working, yet elegant, man. His uniform is comprised of well-tailored suiting, cosy knitwear, cropped jackets and voluminous pea coats. There were also the essential chunky safety boots and clogs that channelled an urban lumberjack — if ever there was such a thing.
“We wanted to showcase the industrial side of America,” said Humberto of the collection, once the show had wrapped. “Everything is about function; there is that culture or idea that you make clothing for a specific purpose. We really wanted to explore that functionality and thought that there could be beauty and elegance found in the ordinary.”
Of course there was nothing ordinary about the collection, which, in true KENZO style saw a twisted take on traditional ideas. An everyday fabric concept like plaid was turned on its head and reproduced as a digital print, the checks glowing vividly like electrical wiring. Likewise a motif that was featured as both a print and as a jewellery design saw “creatures” being constructed from the essentials found in a workers toolbox: nuts, bolts and nails. Cable knits, a staple for working life in the Northwest, were laminated and featured in an acid lime colour that was reminiscent of the glow of a safety vest.
With the exception of this supercharged hue, the palette for the collection was mostly earthen tones —rich browns in shades of espresso and chocolate, deep blues, grey, charcoal, and to throw things off centre a little, lilac purple. “The brown tones were a starting point for us,” said Humberto. “It was a colour that we have a love/hate relationship with, I really wanted to embrace that colour and its potential elegance and beauty.”
The landscape imagery featured on some of the final outerwear looks broke up the palette nicely. Picturesque scenery featuring trees, a flowing river, the silhouette of a mountain range, and a glowing moon, were rendered in appliqué on a leather bomber jacket and a long tailored coat. Inspired by the panoramic views in the Northwest, in the cowboy country states like Montana and Idaho, these images were unexpectedly cast in cool, midnight tones. The overall effect was a slightly darker mood Kenzo, and the eerie soundtrack by New York musician Fatima Al Qadiri made the show a wholly cinematic experience".