Kenzo’s founder Kenzo Takada is often considered to be the founding father of streetwear. And today in Paris, the brand’s new creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista delivered a version of streetwear 2.0.
The former Lacoste designer certainly has expertise when it comes to the streetwear genre. During his decade tenure at the brand he doubled its turnover to approximately $2.1 billion. It was also he who spearheaded Lacoste’s ongoing collaborative partnership with Supreme. Evidentially music to the ears of Kenzo’s parent company, LVMH.
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Now in his new role, Baptista showed a streetwear (and Kenzo) staple — the oversize sweater — reinterpreted in full-length form, as a tabard emblazoned with a collage of giant tiger heads. It wasn’t the official Kenzo tiger, but rather, prints from the oeuvre of the late Portuguese artist Júlio Pomar.
A new elongated silhouette ran throughout the coed collection. Long-line coats, capes and long-sleeve evolutions on the tabard, with nods to the traditional African kanzu, were the sartorial mainstays.
Printed cagoule dresses came in what appeared, from a distance, to be colored camo print. Upon closer inspection it was revealed to be a rose motif that was drawn from the Kenzo archives.
A nomadic, global spirit and cultural exchange lies at the heart of Kenzo whose founder emigrated to Paris from Japan. Baptista teamed archive inspiration with that derived from his own photo albums, including traditional costumes from the Azores where he grew up and a shot of his parents skydiving in Mozambique.
For footwear, wedge style boots featured elasticated cuffs at the ankle or drawstrings on longline ruched variants with a nod to waders. There were also rubberized ankle boots that lashed around the leg.
Interestingly there were no sneakers in the show. Maybe they’re not part of the streetwear 2.0 deal.
Garments and footwear alike evoked the idea of protection and came replete with functional elements. Headwear, too, came with attached flowing capes like garments worn in desert terrain.
Indeed, the notion of climate change was never far from mind. After all, extreme weather conditions, once the preserve of far flung climes, are now commonplace. Fittingly, in an effort to be more environmentally responsible where production is concerned, the show itself took place in a transparent tubular structure which can be packed away like a tent until its next outing. Likewise, there was a reusable water bottle for every show-goer.
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