Saturday, January 12, 2013

BEAUTY: Clothing--Kenzo

Although Pitti Uomo is basically a tradeshow for retail buyers, there is the occasional runway presentation. The Pitti Uomo organizers invite designers as special guests to show collections and this year Kenzo took over the second floor of Florence's Mercato Centrale for a subtle but dazzling presentation.

When Humberto Leon and Carol Lim took over as Kenzo creative directors last year, they vowed not to revive what Kenzo once was in its 70s heyday, but to take that vision and move forward. And they are doing just that. This current Kenzo collection illustrates one of the reasons I follow certain fashion designers and why I feel that fashion is (or can be) considered art: Leon and Lim conjured a jumping off point for a great theme, created their own prints and their own material, and saw it all through to a satisfying execution. Fashion is art when an abstract idea is made manifest in a material object, like any great art, really.

"Carol and I fly so much, and we always look out the window...I think there's a moment of that we wanted to capture," Leon said of the collection. The first thing one notices in this collection is the lovely cloud print (looking a little like an airy version of Hokusai's Great Wave) they designed that adorns jackets, coats, backpacks, shirts, pants, and shoes. And then one notices that the cut of the clothes themselves supports the theme: the pieces look as if they would be on sky-divers, pilots, and anyone who would man a high-altitude expedition. Even the little cloud-covered zip up boots look like they belong on a space flight. And in a lovely artistic touch, Leon and Lim take the print from the clear blue of the daytime sky, to red sunset, and finally to the light of a full moon bouncing off of a cloud-filled canopy.
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