PARIS, France — Just call it binary thinking. The Kenzo show on Sunday night was a sum of men's and women's, literally a sum: two separate collections joined at the hips. Shown in the courtyard of a school, Collège Camille Sèe, the performance included music and acrobats. It was all very spectacular, if a tad too distracting.
Both collections were inspired by Japanese muses: seventies supermodel Sayoko Yamaguchi for women's, musician extraordinaire Ryuichi Sakamoto for men's. Both were presented on a striking cast of all-Asian models. This new outing showed Humberto Leon and Carol Lim fully embrace the hyper-pop, proudly bold, colourfully Japanese DNA of the brand. In the womenswear, in particular, the clash of patterns and shapes verged on the chaotic. Menswear started sombre, building to a garish finale. It made for an enjoyable show, which went on for too long, the result being that the collection felt both repetitive and lacking focus.
The joined men/women/entertainment format is a good choice, but now, more than ever before, precision and conciseness are the best instruments to get a message across. Otherwise it's just theatrics and gimmicks that do not add anything to the conversation: a beautiful, if useless, frame.