A French luxury house founded in 1970 by the late Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, KENZO has long been recognised for its vibrant prints, striking patterns and playful approach to fashion. With the brand rapidly gaining global popularity over the years, it has expanded beyond just ready-to-wear, with an extensive offering of best-selling accessories, fragrances and even home goods.
For KENZO’s fall/winter 2024 collection, artistic director Nigo looked to evolve the maison’s deep-rooted house codes through a retrospective of its cultural influences. The venue this season was the storied Bibliothèque Nationale Richelieu site—a stone’s throw away from the KENZO studio—and home to one of the oldest and most prestigious libraries in all of France. It’s picturesque and sprawling interior made for a larger-than-life spectacle, which added to the overall theatrics of the show.
Referencing house archives, the collection saw a sleuth of traditional Japanese wear injected with western design details. A kimono coat was turned into a cape, constructed from a weave that was originally seen on hakeshi baten firemen jackets. Denim workwear returned, albeit deconstructed and treated with an acid wash that gave the pieces a vintage fade. This was swiftly followed by collarless blazers in shades of crimson and forest, pieces inspired by Nigo’s own school uniforms. They were reminiscent of bellboy jackets, and proved to be the statement of the evening.
As for signature prints, the monogrammed check was Nigo’s adaptation of the iconic tatami mat print, while the twist-stemmed floral was a version of Karakusa, a popular pattern for packing fabrics that originated from China and Eygpt. Spiral star constellations were also present in several of the knits, a nod to the space futurism beloved by the artistic director.
On the accessories front, judo belts were spotted on many of the looks, worn to cinch in the model’s waist to create a more dramatic silhouette. Long gloves and metal accents were aplenty, further driving home the sci-fi references. For shoes, a new genderless sneaker is introduced, constructed with a mesh-wrapped midsole that screams comfort. There were also various leather boots, from the moto-inspired KENZO Biker to the ponyskin Yuki ankle boot, versatile for any occasion. Lastly, for those looking to add a new bag to the rotation, the Sakura satchel in box calf leather, ponyskin or suede will inject a splash of colour to any outfit.
In attendance were some of the industry’s biggest stars, including British singer-songwriter Rita Ora, hip-hop icon Quavo and Nigo’s longtime friend and creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear, Pharrell Williams. Local actor and singer Glenn Yong graced the show as well, looking dapper in a tailored denim set that was fresh off the runway. The latter was also seen sauntering down the Parisian streets earlier in the week, dressed in a Boke flower oxford shirt and pieces from KENZO’s spring/summer 2024 collaboration with Verdy.
With this marking Nigo’s fifth collection and most nuanced to date, it seems the esteemed designer is just getting started. As we continue to analyse his references and indulge in his visions, one thing can be said for certain: his appointment at KENZO was extremely timely, and one that could certainly catapult the maison back into the fashion limelight.
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