For our ultimate collection for KENZO, the Spring-Summer 2020 collection, we looked to the home of our founder Kenzo Takada, and more specifically to the surrounding seas of Japan where groups of strong, tenacious and modern-day super-heroes plunge daily
to retrieve treasures at the bottom of the ocean.
The Ama are groups of Japanese female free divers, who, for over 2000 years have dived to the ocean floor to forage for seafood such as shrimp, urchins or even pearls for their communities. They train from their beginnings as teenagers, taught by their predecessors who can dive well into their 70s.
Due to breath training, Ama can stay underwater for significant amounts of time in one go. Over time their numbers have declined, and these intrepid fisherwomen can now only be found sporadically in pockets along the Japanese coastlines. Withstanding harsh and sometimes freezing temperatures, they have become known as the last mermaids.
Our collections are a tapestry of elements combining traditionally marine associated garments with modern and technical diving gear. For women, neoprene suiting in orange, violet and black are juxtaposed against crushed wet-look jersey tops and dresses. Skirts in mermaid jacquard linens are adorned with pearl buttons while nylon tops in vivid colors of corals have sleeves rolled up to the shoulder.
Transparent suiting complements the prints of shrimp, mermaids and sea lilies. High waisted trousers feature an assembly of embroideries, reminiscent of treasures amassed while diving. Woven ikats feature on either dresses, tops for women or as panelling on shirts and trousers for men. Tailoring in liquid viscose, sun-bleached denims and ikat prints also straddle both collections.
For menswear, hardy rubberised outerwear appears in orange and violet while Hawaïan shirts abound with prints of sea lilies or urchins. Solarised cotton sweaters in indigo or dark greys walk along side tailored jackets with shawl collars and rough edges. Jackets and coats in summer linens feature sailor collars and shorts are made of high frequency lazer-cut nylons. Suits are cropped and boxy and classic ‘K’ shirts feature net panels color blocked in lilac and orange. Net prints appear in dégradé pigments on printed cotton.
In our Fall-Winter 2019 collection for KENZO, we introduced a new bag, ‘The Tali’. We revisit the Tali for Spring-Summer 2020, updating it within the themes of the new collection and we introduce a new smaller version, The Mini Tali. Skins of viper snake resemble fish scales. Dégradés recall the approaching light seen from the bottom of the ocean floor.
Net straps and bumbags mirror the belt pouches used by the Ama to retrieve their rewards. Sunglasses are high performance and feature solarised lenses to protect. For women, traditional Japanese Okobo sandals in the sea-lily print walk alongside scuba sock sandals and a new unisex sneaker style, the scuba inspired K-Wave for men and women.
Carol Lim & Humberto Leon