Kenzo La Collection Memento No. 1 isn’t an exercise in nostalgia or a vestige of an earlier time. La Collection is a reinterpretation with a modern twist.
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, Kenzo designers, immersed themselves in the archives of Kenzo Takada, who founded the brand 50 years ago. Much of the fashion designed by Takada was created before their time, but the intrepid Lim and Leon wanted to explore the founder’s aesthetics.
The new series was designed to tell the history of the house where each chapter — or collection — celebrates a part of Kenzo’s archives.
“Kenzo La Collection Memento is rooted in pieces that were created during our founders’ journey and welcomes back to life items that are truly Kenzo,” said Lim.
“We have had access to the archives since we got to Kenzo,” said Leon. “Our job is to make sure we push the brand forward, while dissecting the code of the house.”
Lim and Leon delved into the 1983 Takada collection. “As soon as we saw the floral prints in this collection, we knew that these would become the starting block for the rest of the pieces,” the designers said. “We subsequently looked further back in the archives and were intrigued by garments from other seasons, most notably knitwear and dresses from fall 1981.”
Items in the line include a taffeta puff-sleeve blouse, $625; reversible faux shearling jacket, $1,230; crane shirtdress, $225; May flowers pants, $450, and May flowers down puffer jacket, $895. Lim and Leon are the founders and operators of Opening Ceremony, so there’s a pop-up shop for Kenzo La Collection Memento at the store at 35 Howard Street, and another pop-up at Bergdorf Goodman.
“We’re trying to bring denim to Paris,” Leon said. “Kenzo was at the forefront of jeans. You celebrate different facets of the business. You bring back labels. Each collection is dedicated to a certain genre. The second launch in Paris will be denim and swimwear.
“Opening Kenzo stores is definitely in the agenda,” Leon said. “Kenzo hasn’t had a store in the U.S. for 20 years.”
Lim and Leon were inspired by Eighties campaigns for Kenzo by Hans Feurer and featuring Iman and Sayoko. Photographed in Lanzarot, an unusual member of the Canary Islands with a volcanic landscape and golden sand beaches, the images have an otherworldly quality.
In a moment of symmetry, Lim and Leon asked Feurer to photograph La Collection Memento. “We decided to ask him to return with clothes to the island and bring the story full circle,” Lim said. “We wanted Hans to pay tribute to the iconic photos he created in collaboration with Kenzo Takada in the Eighties.”
Of course, this being the digital age, the campaign had to have a video; Thomas Traum’s piece features aerial drone photography and 3-D animation.