Asked about his approach to the fall 2023 Kenzo collection, his third effort for the brand, creative director Nigo likened his approach to The Beatles’ “White Album,” a mélange of classics with “some weird stuff” thrown in.
It turns out the Japanese designer is quite the Fab Four enthusiast, having collected the same guitars and drum kits. (For the record, he only knows how to play the drums.)
For his show on Friday night, Nigo conscripted a string quartet to play a medley of The Beatles’ greatest hits on a raised platform while models stalked a vast red runway installed at the Salle Pleyel concert hall.
The collection had a strong English accent, telegraphed by the country tweeds, the blanket coats and a collaboration with rubber-boot brand Hunter.
Nigo blended in Japanese silhouettes, which he said have been enthusiastically received by consumers. Many of these took their cue from Kendo, the modern Japanese martial art involving bamboo swords. There were wide, pleated pants with the look of a skirt, known as hakama, and many haori jackets.
He also continued to propose looks reminiscent of school uniforms, with elements of preppy and workwear. The menswear was superior to the women’s offering.
To be sure, Kenzo looks like nothing else on the runways of Europe, which you can either disdain for being out of step or cheer as a refreshing, alternative view on fashion. Nigo’s clothes for the Paris house have a prim, homespun quality that feels true to the brand ethos and reflects a studied, exacting approach to the house founder’s legacy.
The designer has been slowly expanding Kenzo’s accessories offering as he finds quality suppliers, so he could include skater shoes and running shoes this season. He hinted that he will next turn his attention to the look of Kenzo boutiques and is mulling unveiling a new concept in Tokyo.