When it comes to finding their creative muse, some creative directors explore distant horizons on their travels, while others draw inspiration from the soul-stirring melodies of their favourite bands. For Artistic Director Nigo, the man behind the Kenzo Fall/Winter 2023 collection, his extraordinary fashion odyssey was inspired by none other than the legendary British rock band, The Beatles. In much the same way that The Beatles revolutionized the music scene, Nigo’s vision for this collection pushes boundaries through cultures and styles. It’s a collection that not only resonates with history and innovation but also weaves a vibrant tapestry of influences that transcend time and borders.
A Multifaceted Collection
As the curtains rise on the Kenzo Fall/Winter 2023 collection, it’s clear that this collection is more than just a display of fashion. It’s a vibrant fusion of cultures and styles. Nigo’s vision encapsulates the essence of British, American, and Japanese street culture, bringing together the similarities and differences that define his world and the legacy of Kenzo Takada.
First, the echoes of the Swinging Sixties resound through the collection, a foundational era for Nigo. Born in 1970, Nigo’s extensive vintage archive is a treasure trove of mod and rocker wardrobes from the time. This period serves as the backdrop for a dynamic exploration of cultural influences that shaped an entire generation.
English Countryside Meets Urban Chic
The collection takes a delightful turn as it delves into the world of British country attire. Collaborating with Hunter, the renowned rubber-boot brand, the collection also pays tribute to the enduring influence of Dame Vivienne Westwood. The result is an eclectic blend of British and urban aesthetics that reflect the brand’s enduring legacy.
Aesthetically, the collection’s silhouettes are a canvas that merges decades of fashion evolution. From mod-inspired tunic jackets to 1980s-suiting shapes, Nigo’s vision marries tradition with modernity. Like the Y-shaped jacket closures and voluminous box-pleat hakama skirts reinterpreted in Japanese denim. Inspired by Japanese martial arts, the wardrobe takes cues from the uniform of kendo, creating a harmonious dialogue between cultures and styles.
Reworking Iconic Motifs
Themes and motifs are reimagined through Nigo’s Eastern/Western lens, breathing new life into Kenzo’s iconic prints. Dazzle stripes, checks, tartans, and floral patterns like the Kenzo Roses print create a vibrant tapestry of influences. The collection also pays homage to the Land of the Rose with a Kenzo Roses print adapted from the archive, along with an Archive Floral collage motif. The Kimono Camo is a fascinating composition of vases, fruits, and leaves, celebrating Japanese aesthetics.
The collection also showcased materials and fine craftsmanship. For example, the traditional Japanese quilting technique, Sashiko, finds new expressions across various materials. From nylon to denim, wool to knitwear, the collection embodies the art of blending diverse cultures into the finest fabrics.
To enrich the collection, a blend of British, Scottish, and Italian wools is incorporated, along with jacquards and velvets. The inclusion of heritage corduroy and subversive devoré further showcases the depth of materials. In addition, the use of patchwork shearling suede pieces, inspired by a 1970s leather jacket from the archives, reflects the collection’s fusion of American military aesthetics. Denim replicates the washes of original Kenzo Jeans from the 1980s and ’90s, with a unique twist where certain pieces adorn the back of the cloth in print. Additionally, knitwear weaves Irish Donegal tweed into sporty cable sweaters, and the Kenzo fair isle expands into a 3D-knitted multicolour lurex-threaded manifestation.
Accessories that Tell Stories
Bags, shoes, and accessories echo the spirit of the collection. Meanwhile, reinterpreted bags, footwear, and playful accessories pay homage to various archetypes and moments in history, forming a harmonious narrative that complements the fashion ensemble. Inspired by a previous Kenzo adaptation from the 1980s, the sporran bag, native to Scottish dress, is reinterpreted for the collection. Its tassels subtly filter into soft hobo bags made from cotton and linen, the same materials used in the Rue Vivienne Satchel. A reversible Kinchaku pouch celebrates the traditional kimono pouch in various shapes, offering a blend of tradition and modernity.
The collection also features the Kenzo Clog, a wood-wedge shoe adorned with flowers, and the Kenzo Western, an ankle boot that celebrates authentic cowboy boot aesthetics. The shoe line is a tribute to American archetypes and the rich tapestry of influences woven into this collection.
The Kenzo Fall/Winter 2023 ‘East Meets West’ collection is not just a fashion statement; it’s also a symphony of diversity and cultural convergence. Nigo’s Beatles-inspired journey weaves a harmonious tapestry of styles, bridging the gap between tradition and modernity. This collection invites you to embrace the beauty of diversity in fashion and tells a story that resonates with history, innovation, and the ties that bind the past to the future.