At a time when the movement of peoples and the spread of cross-cultural dialogue marks our daily lives more than ever, our interest in telling personal stories at KENZO has never felt more appropriate. For the Fall-Winter 2019 collection, our focus turned to Humberto’s Chinese-Peruvian heritage – the Tusán people whose ancestors arrived from Guangdong province to settle in Peru in the 19th century. Today they number in the millions, and the diffusion of Asian traditions throughout South America is a palpable force.
This rich and colorful exchange of stories mixes with the contemporary realities of alpine life, as extreme conditions see both men and women layering bright, ethnic textiles with modern tactical garments. In our interpretation, the drama of the Andean colour palette (from Cusco to Machu Picchu) meets piles of fuzzy texture and a touch of Parisian sophistication. Couched in the Ayahuasca dreamscape show set by the artist Pablo Amaringo, this collection invokes discovery and exploration through mind, body, and spirit.
Within the women’s collection, hiking gear has an overt feminine twist, as swirling polar fleece comes tailored and swathes of waterproof nylon are given soft volume and drape. Inspired by the import of rice into Peru, knitwear and recycled raffia pieces feature custom KENZO calligraphy, and an archive ‘Earth’ print returns under the cover of clouds.
Pollera and pencil skirts receive the technical treatment, traced with drawstrings and paired with zipped mock-necks or patch-pocket blouses in tonal ensembles. Papery leather shines in roomy parka and anorak shapes, whilst shaggy jacquard faux-furs create wood print and blanket plaid effects. 5-pocket jean and cropped cargos are cut in winter wools or acid-washed denim.
Menswear takes the road less traveled, keeping in mind the military trappings of early explorers. Transformable all-weather outerwear pieces feature harness collars, reversible mesh linings, and detachable pocket gloves. A membrane coating gives pop tailoring extra bounce, as zip-up polar fleece returns in roomy quilted jogging pants (mimicked elsewhere by luxe striped shearling). Worn with plaid felt overcoats and checkered crew knits, straight canvas trousers zip-off in color-blocked panels. In the same way, a three-pocket bag zips out into backpack, tote, and fanny pack shapes.
Blinking from a resin bijoux ‘eye’ clasp, our new KENZO Tali double flap bag is unveiled for the season in a rainbow of colors and crafted in stamped lizard and faux croc leathers or oval ‘eye’ quilting. Held in the hand, on the shoulder, or worn cross-body, it comes printed with the season’s KENZO rice bag motifs and swings with sunglass cases or shaggy shoulder straps.
For men and women, footwear styles see town and country collide, with laced Inka trekking boots and mesh sneakers lifted on stacked soles. Women’s Lima kitten heels fuse faux fur under plastic, whilst squared boots lace up the calf with a scuba sock insert.
Carol Lim & Humberto Leon