Blessed with highly intuitive and creative GPS systems, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim have had no problem making an impact with any of their fashion-retail projects. Now a year into the new populist era at Kenzo, they have successfully hitched the dozing label to their cool-kid wagon.
The Maison du Judo was packed to the rafters with editors, retailers and groupies for the show, which, like the men’s collection in June, was inspired by Southeast Asian jungles. That the set — a giant screen onto which a loop of jungle-themed digital imagery was projected — was mesmerizing and fun was no surprise. Leon and Lim are masters of atmosphere, but they should be careful not to let the production outshine the clothes, which are contemporary and cute, period.
Jungle prints were meant to resemble a night-vision view, and there were blown-up, camouflage leopard motifs and a plethora of tiger ones. (Large cats are a point of kitschy fascination for the fashion set.) The base silhouette was safari streetwear, with updates on the classic Kenzo off-the-shoulder dress and urbanized utility gear — wide pants, vests and great boxy jackets, kind of like a redux of an oversize jean jacket with leopard sleeves and a big Kenzo logo on the back.
Done in loud colors like orange and green, the collection toed the line of tacky that has been indoctrinated into Leon and Lim’s cachet of hip.