With every show that Carol Lim and Humberto Leon put on for Kenzo, they set the bar a little higher. Will the retail geniuses behind Opening Ceremony be able to top that time they sent models down escalators and sent shoppers scrambling for logo sweatshirts and baseball caps? Season after season, they do.
To start, Lim and Leon always manage to find a cool location to stage their Kenzo shows. In Paris, where gorgeous gilded Baroque venues are a dime a dozen, they seek out something grittier and less expected. This season it was the courtyard of La Samaritaine, the shuttered fancy department store in Paris’s first arrondissement (which is now owned by LVMH and set to reopen following renovations). A decorative wrought iron staircase which arched over the square show space provided that perfect final picture–much like last year’s escalators–when the models were line up along it.
Then there’s the music: Again, always cool. This time it was custom-made by M.I.A. and kicked off with screeching ululations and drumming–just the thing to wake up the weary fashion pack at 10 a.m. (that is, if the free Starbucks from a Kenzo-branded airstream parked outside didn’t do the trick).
And finally, the clothes. This was a collection so chock-full of rich saturated color, shimmering metallics, and dizzying prints that it couldn’t be more perfectly suited to the exploding street style culture. But for those who don’t like to get all loud and crazy and print-clashy to entice photographers, there was lots of other great stuff, too.
In some ways, this season seemed to be a continuation of Kenzo’s fall 2013 menswear collection (which was also staged at an abandoned courtyard) in that it explored the same “Asian warrior” silhouette. Cropped jackets with rounded shoulders, wrap skirts, and A-line dresses were all composed of sharp folds. But if the structured silhouettes were Far East-warrior-esque then the prints seemed Asian inspired in a broader sense, bringing to mind the rich textiles of India, Mongolia, and Tibet.
And one more thing: There were these eyes that kept popping up, staring at guests–from a sweatshirt (the one everyone‘s gonna want this season, which smartly shied away from logo-mania), an overcoat, a pants suit. Was it an evil eye? An all-seeing eye? Who knows? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.