Kenzo: Menswear AW23

Nigo cooked up a well-tailored melting-pot of Eastern and Western influences for Kenzo’s AW23 co-ed catwalk. The collection was called The White Album, riffing off the colloquial epithet of The Beatles’ enigmatic and esteemed ninth studio album, and it simultaneously explored the nuances of British, American and Japanese street culture throughout the ages. Building on the backbone of Kenzo Takada’s archives, traditional Japanese construction and authentic American workwear played into Nigo’s own particularly brilliant Kenzo vocabulary, which, deeply rooted in mod culture, was more refined than previous season’s – more sophisticated and ultimately, more Nigo. 

Satiating the vast 1,000 seat concert hall of the Salle Pleyel with the ethereal string sounds of the all-female Japanese musicians, 1966 Quartet, renditions of The Beatles best songs enchanted the atmosphere. Mini-skirt clad models marched along to “Sergeant Pepper’s”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, “All You Need Is Love”, and more unforgettable tracks. The eclecticism of the collection, which began in the Swinging Sixties, slowly evolved into a study of Great British country attire before time-travelling to the 80’s hip-hop heyday and lavishly ended with interpretations of today. Out came a collision of big, box-pleat ‘hakama’ skirts crafted in Japanese denim, British tartan kilts, multi-tiered and ruffled slip dresses, fair isle knits, Samurai inspired Y-shaped jacket closures, sleek Japanese tailoring, American military patchwork fleeces and English country couture looks. Charming goldfish motifs – a symbol of good fortune – were rife, appearing on a khaki kimono-bomber crossover and vibrant shirting, but other animalia graphics and florals took the lead on this one. Accessories were characterised by a series of supersized, collapsible berets. Knitted hats with fringed mohawks were a happy prototyping accident that resulted in a 70’s punk silhouette. Chunky rope jewellery and logo belts felt super street and 80s-inspired sporty bags were utterly covetable.

For footwear, cowboy boots and steel-toe work boots stomped along while wooden clogs, authentic “dad” trainers and youthful 90s skateboard sneaks felt a little more casual and ideal for the everyday. These were paired with dresses and skirts that came layered over fluid tailored trousers, leading Kenzo’s AW23 show to a gratifying close. Just one year in and Nigo’s disruptive vision is already boiling over into the hallowed halls of fashion’s fictitious hall of fame.

Photography courtesy of Kenzo.

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