Kenzo tapped into the Victorian renaissance and filtered it through the halcyon days of the 70s and the gaudy excess of the 80s.
Let’s do the timewarp again! At Kenzo, things move at the speed of fashion, which has currently been traveling backward through the past, mining the late 19th century for inspiration. Designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon tapped into the Victorian renaissance for Fall/Winter 2016 and filtered it through the halcyon days of the 1970s and the gaudy excess of the 1980s. It would all have been a bit too “been there, done that” if it weren’t for the concurrent revival of archival Kenzo hits, which were hand-painted onto many looks or turned into eye-popping prints.
It was hard to miss Kenzo’s resurrection of the old-fashioned, as many looks featured ruffles that eclipsed the silhouette and bell-shaped sleeves.
Punk period pieces appeared as starchy separates, brocade velvet toppers trimmed with nylon patches, and ankle-grazing dresses with crocheted bodices to start the show. It was hard to miss Kenzo’s resurrection of the old-fashioned, as many looks featured ruffles that eclipsed the silhouette and bell-shaped sleeves. However, when these stuffy proportions were paired with hyper-modern, liquid-leather skirts and jumpers, they took on a contemporary quality. Portrait necklines – another meme at Fashion Month – are typically used to frame the décolletage, but at Kenzo this feature was obscured by starchy button-ups. Swollen silhouettes, bulky fits, and major shoulders kept things awkward and top heavy, but guess what? This look is totally in right now. Other tributes to the past included chaste nightgowns for day, mumsy tea dresses, frocks that were bonded with crumb-catcher details and leg-of-mutton sleeves, and even a drop-shoulder jacket fitted with a ruffled bonnet/hood.
When Lim and Leon tired of larking about in the 1870s, they turned their attention to more recent eras. The 1980s were felt in coordinated separates decorated with squiggle embroidery and lurid animal-print pieces. Adam Ant would have loved this wardrobe. “She tackles every adventure with an open mind and with respect for where she has previously tread,” read the show notes, and you’d certainly have to possess an open mind to wear most of these looks. Fortunately, the Kenzo girl is nothing if not a sartorial risk taker.