No one can argue the fact that Carol Lim and Humberto Leon have turned the Kenzo brand around in record time. In less then three years, they have made it a favorite fashion haunt for cool kids looking for cool clothes with a quirky urban flair. So the rather austere, workwear direction the designer duo took with their fall/winter 2014 collection felt a bit out of step with the light hearted and fun style they have been developing for the house.
This disconnect began with the dark color palette of blacks and browns or forest green and deep blues that opened the show. Granted, the starting point of the collection was the America Northeast and there was a sort of day laborer slash logger vibe to the chunky soled work boots, ribbed spread, collared crop jackets and coats, and the practical straight leg pants. But the subdued nature of the short textural sweaters worn over suit jackets and the body hugging four button blazers felt banal when coming from designers who are celebrated for their creative and engaging concepts.
There were glimmers of something more bubbling underneath this sober show. The bright lemon yellow knitwear pieces that were given a glossy coating on the front, and the lilac hues used to create abstract winter landscapes on the final 5 exits felt more in keeping with the hip yet avant-garde spirit of the house. And the triad of three-dimensional knit sweaters in vibrant tri-hued shades could work as successors to the brand’s famed logo sweatshirts.
This industrial collection wasn’t half bad. It just needed some recalibration to make it another unadulterated success for the house.