If Pharrell Williams ever tires of making music, and his assorted design projects, he could always take up fashion writing.
He had already previewed Nigo’s first collection for Kenzo — the most anticipated debut of men’s fashion week in Paris — and he summed it up with a spot-on cinematic description.
“It feels like a Wes Anderson film. To me, it’s like ‘Rushmore,’ in the sense that like, it’s 1950s and ’60s fashions, but through the lenses of the 1980s, and shot in 2022. So it’s really cool what he’s doing,” he said before the show. “I feel like I’m about to go meet Margot Tenenbaum right now.”
Indeed, the dusty colors, traditional fabrics and cheerful prints gave the collection a retro patina, while the silhouettes charmed as a mashup of workwear and preppy classics, with an occasional Western twang, and winks to traditional Japanese attire, particularly haori jackets.
Nigo also exalted the brand’s legacy of lively florals, including chintz-like odes to the hibiscus and more abstract poppy motifs on a range of looks, and often worn head-to-toe.
Best known as the founder of A Bathing Ape, and a serial fashion collaborator, Nigo is primarily regarded as a purveyor of streetwear. This confident debut demonstrated impressive range, from handsome plaid blanket coats to natty three-button suits in classic men’s wear checks — and without a sneaker in sight.
The collection also surprised with its homespun charm, from the hickory-striped overalls and denim worker jackets to the demure circle skirts scattered with poppy flowers.
Not to worry: There was also plenty for hype beasts, including a dynamite new tiger emblem that was splashed across the back of terrific varsity jackets and nylon perfectos; plenty of funky headgear, from logo berets to bulbous newsboy caps, and a striped scarf that resembles a cartoon tiger flattened by a steamroller.
Nigo is a walking encyclopedia about the late founder Kenzo Takada, and boasts an archive of original designs from the 1980s numbering in the hundreds. That period cemented his image of Kenzo, and he decided to make that his starting point.
“There’s something about it that feels particularly right for the present moment,” Nigo, 51, said during a preview. “And maybe people from my generation are going to feel somewhat nostalgic, but for young people, there’s so much to discover at Kenzo that will seem incredibly fresh in that inspiration from from the ’80s.”
Back to Pharrell, who skirted questions about his upcoming Tiffany & Co. project and said, “We’re here to celebrate my brother Nigo today. The fact that he was able to take over a Japanese house that’s affiliated with the LVMH group, it’s a beautiful thing.”