PARIS, France — The gang mentality which is so integral to the way most brands operate today — creating a sense of belonging in order to urge customers to the shop — was apparent in the Kenzo show, a mix of menswear and a consistent chunk of womenswear (the brand's pre-collection, for the records).
"We sent little cliques of men and women down the runway, trying to recreate the inclusive ethos of some seminal moments in New York's 1990s nightlife," explained creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. The ethos, and certainly the looks. "In each collection,” — they added — “we try to explore a streak of Kenzo Takada's heritage. This time we looked at Mr Takada in his early years, when he was showing in the Big Apple and enjoying local clubs such as Studio 54."
Enough with conceptual explanations and brand consistency. The collection was a bold mix of urban staples, reconfigured streetwear and boxy, oversized tailoring in odd proportions, accessorised to an nth with caps, stripy socks, and glittery platforms. It was visually as lysergic as possible, and definitely upbeat and joyous. Yet it lacked clarity, maybe because of the forcibly messy styling, which made pieces disappear in a jumble of this and that. Their intentions, however, were clear and commendable (even though a groupage of street-cast models is not necessarily a clique). Creating a sense of belonging demands a bit more truthfulness, or probably more spontaneity in the looks.