The duo tapped David LaChapelle to shoot a series of colorful images intended to convey the message of utopia. The campaign, entitled Kenzotopia,” uses a splash of vibrantly colored streetscapes, urban apartments and outdoor imagery to get the message across.
The photos, which were taken in LaChapelle’s Los Angeles studio, feature models, dancers, musicians and students as well as a cameo by Leon’s mother Wendy, who happened to be visiting the set on the day of the shoot.
Humberto Leon said he’s been a fan of LaChapelle’s “forever and ever. When I was 18, I actually lined up to buy a book and get it signed by him at Tower Records.”
He said LaChapelle’s images moved him “as a young, suburban teen just getting comfortable in his gay skin.”
Lim, who was raised in L.A., said she was especially impressed with LaChapelle’s ability to transition from photography to film and was inspired by his documentary, Rize, which depicts the gritty streets of South Central Los Angeles.
LaChapelle, who has lived in Maui for the past 11 years, said he repurposed photos he had taken of the island as backdrops for the Kenzo shoot since they represent utopia to him. He used photos of waterfalls, jungles and other tropical settings to set the upbeat mood.
He added that because Kenzo’s clothes are “super happy and optimistic,” they are a sharp contrast to most of the images offered by other fashion brands. “We’ve seen so many people slumped over and looking so sad in their really expensive clothing. It doesn’t make any sense for luxury brands.”
The campaign launches Monday on the Kenzo web site and social media channels.