PARIS, France — Fashion show formats increasingly fall into one of two buckets, each polar opposites. They are either extremely clean and technical or flamboyant and theatrical. But, when deployed, the spectacular mise en scène rarely relates to the theme or inspiration of the actual collection. It is more about pure visual amusement, the more unexpected and magical the better. So much so, in fact, that it sometimes seems like the entertainment factor covers up for a lack of design innovation.
The Kenzo show this morning featured models standing still on automated platforms that floated across the floor like flying carpets, passing under Escher-esque arches. It certainly made for a lot of oohs and aahs, while the clothes succeeded in delivering a bold visual punch.
Staying true to the Kenzo DNA, while adding a digital age twist, creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon worked with the theme of voyage, turning bits and pieces of different cultures into nods and echoes. However, there was nothing exotic or bohemian about the proceedings. The approach, on the contrary, was decidedly angular and graphic, making for a deliberate cacophony of shapes and colours.
It looked confusing, if assertive: a story of geometric shapes and modular, wearable accessories that will certainly look good in pictures, if a little less so in real life, being a tad too abstract and contrived.
These days, it's important to find the right balance between the image and the real. Tip too far towards the virtual and there is the danger of producing another show worth infinite Instagram posts and little else.