Kenzo’s Parisian Extremes

Published June 10, 2014

Last night, Kenzo debuted its Resort 2015 collection in the new lobby of 4 World Trade Center. As cars arrived and the space filled with people, tourists gawked while trying to catch a glimpse through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Inside, models soon emerged, walking toward a rotating platform on which they stood for 10 minutes before exiting and reappearing an hour later for the second presentation. Dakota Fanning and boyfriend Jamie Strachan stood front-and-center, alongside Chloë Sevigny, Leigh Lezark, and Shala Monroque.

“I love that hat!” Sevigny whispered to designer Humberto Leon in the middle of the presentation.

White and woven, the hat in question towered above the model’s head with a brim that extended twice the width you might expect. It embodied Leon and Carol Lim’s Resort collection, which played with proportions and patterns, and relied heavily on details.

Starkly striped and polka dotted pants, shirts, and dresses that should have clashed, somehow managed to effortlessly match. Each button on every navy jacket was different, representing coins from around the world, and although certain pairs of shoes resembled one another, no two pairs were exactly the same.

“It’s like collecting souvenirs,” Leon told us after the show. “It’s really taking a look at what makes a Parisian girl, but through a foreigner’s eyes.”

Hues ranged from a subtle nautical color scheme of navy and white to the label’s signature bright orange, neon pink, and electric blue. Sunglasses and bags were inscribed with “Kenzo Paris” along the side, but the brand’s signature logo t-shirts and sweatshirts were absent.

In their own interpretation of this season’s oversized earring trend, Leon and Lim designed dangling coral reefs: imitation shiny black reefs and pieces of bright red coral hung alongside each other, suspended by transparent purple square jewels. The earrings approached theatrical costume jewelry, although Leon explained the excess and tropical motifs continue the brand’s ode to Paris.

“You see it in Parisian architecture and things that Parisians decorate with. You see those gold buildings and gold statues. We wanted to embrace all of the aspects. We wanted things to have more of that extremity,” he said. “We feel like everything in Paris that is beautiful is extreme.”