Kenzo: Making a Beeline to Adaptable Fashion
One cannot fault Felipe Oliveira Baptista of lacking in energy and effort, especially in his second collection for the house of Kenzo, whose inspiration was that most industrious of all creatures, the bee.
His imagination initially ignited by a dramatic organic photo of a wild beehive, the designer sent out a team of hipster bee-keepers in this spring summer collection, presented with wit and humor inside the rose garden of the Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris in the 5th arrondissement.
A swarm of the insects were even spray-painted all over the street outside, and many more appeared inside a 36-page newspaper left on each garden stool. Its cover was a 100-year-old archive photo of a gardener in a huge mosquito head-net, posing with a clay pipe. And in case you didn’t get the message, the house even generously gave each guest a small jar of honey from the Sacré Coeur, as guests sat under huge expeditionary umbrellas in the light rain.
Indeed, half the cast wore head-nets in this co-ed show, along with protective tunics and cloaks, in a season where security and sheltering have been the key themes to have emerged from this pandemic.
“After the ups and downs and fears during the lockdown I believe we are all thinking of protection. But also being very optimistic to try to get out of this whole moment,” explained the designer in a noisy backstage.
After oddly somber debut show in February, it was vital Oliveira Baptista inject in bold colors, a central element of the Kenzo DNA. And he delivered with memorable digitally faded poppy-prints culled from the archives and used in dashing nylon parkas or great soft cotton suits for guys.
Ikat style windcheaters; safari jackets with multiple industrial looking pockets for the gentleman farmers; or techy knit and lace cocktails with cut-outs and see-through slickers over Lycra jumpsuits for the hipster, nature loving gals.
The cast of 40 marching on high-tech geta sandals, with beautifully bizarre bubble soles, a neat riff on the brand’s Japanese origins. Plus, Oliveira Baptista worked his magic on some natty new double-bags, bucket shape leather bags that contained within them a second large nylon bag.
Playing on the theme of practical gardeners, he also whipped up some great new constructions – cool new jeans with added denim aprons and dandy fisherman’s waistcoats extended to the knee. What the designer called “adaptable fashion.” Ideal for a moment when the whole world has had to adapt.
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