Suspended between opposing sides of a city, strung over the River Seine on the Passerelle Debilly footbridge that links the Palais de Tokyo with the Eiffel Tower, Kenzo’s SS24 collection kicked off; casual, colourful and considered. Entitled City Pop Paris, it was a line up envisioned in the memory of an elusive musical genre born in the same nation as the brand; Japan.
Originating in in post-war Japan, City Pop emerged as a multi-genre soundtrack meant to accommodate a burgeoning cosmopolitan lifestyle. Coinciding with some of the most memorable moments in Kenzo Takada’s career, it’s a genre often regarded as exuberant and glitzy, drawing inspiration from a melange of American styles like funk, jazz, yacht rock, boogie and lounge music. It emulates an air of escapism with a kind of care-free Californian breeziness to it and arrives in tandem with a highly graphic, preppy and poppy style embodied by the collection.
As the genre garners a growing global audience four decades from its last bout of momentum, Nigo has been taking note of its complete reappraisal, alluding to this in the show notes as a “powerful analogy”, referring to the reinvigorated pertinence of the near fifty year-old label in today’s unpredictable world. So, bridging the legacy of Takada with the contemporary vision of the latter director, Nigo’s signature street-centric style enters into a new generational elegance.
Pivoting between Eastern and Western codes, he reinterpreted Japanese staples such as the judo uwagi and seigaiha – an ancient wave print – which are recontextualised as a chore jacket and an indigo rendition respectively. Japanese graphic artist Verdy even reimagined the Kenzo logo with his signature swashed font.
The rest of the offering invited sakura flowers onto denim twinsets, shift dresses and trench coats, while a mixture of workwear, sport and evening silhouettes sifted through salmon, crimson, baby blue, camel and black colourways.
Photography courtesy of Kenzo.