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Kenzo: a kinder, gentler fashion

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today Jun 25, 2018
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In a week dominated by searing images of children being brutally separated from their parents and then held in cages in Texas, it was instructive that the Paris menswear season ended with a collection created by two American designers – both children of immigrants – whose central theme was Kindness. No Ugly Americans here.
 

Kenzo Spring/Summer 2019 Menswear - Photo: PixelFormula


The Kenzo invitation to Sunday night’s show requested the presence of each guest, “to gather and unify in celebration of the spring/summer presentation.” It also contained a headband reading Kindness; bearing designs of a Chinese dragon and a phoenix.
 
Moreover, the show was staged inside Maison de la Mutualité, a concert hall used by many generations for political rallies and debates on human rights.

An apt setting for a co-ed show that kicked off with a gutsy brass band that marched into the audience, perched on round stools in circular aisles. Above us all, huge baskets of orchids and exotic flowers rose and descended throughout the show, highlighted by multiple lasers. For the guys – it being officially a menswear season – some great cotton suits – in multiple stripes or acid mono-colors, cut with blazers and massively wide pants. Fashion note, the wide, double-pleat pant is now almost de rigueur for the fashionable male, except possibly those blessed with slim-line Mick Jagger legs. Often paired with a noble choice of knits starring the phoenix and dragon.
 
For the ladies, faux snakeskin tunics and belted trench coats; silk dresses trimmed in black lace; school governess, strict black crepe jackets and some really great pant suits made in the same striped cotton used in the men’s looks. All backed up by the all-black Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, another example of what the Kenzo design duo, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, called bringing together “the varying tribes and sub-cultures we come across throughout our every day.”
 
All told, a witty yet wise collection, and an inclusive message. One prepared well before what most fashion people view as atrocities at the Mexican-American border. So, even though this was only a fashion show; it also managed to be a statement about respecting humanity, fashion playing a small role in the never ending struggle for fairness among people. All about breaking down barriers; not building them.

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