Kenzo Menswear Spring Summer 2014 Paris
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The Kenzo menswear show might have had an early morning start time of 9:30 am, but no one seemed to notice that it actually got underway over an hour later. The unexpected new venue (the Académie Fratellini circus school in the Paris suburbs of Saint Denis) holding area, which was dominated by a colorful carpet made from fresh fruit, and the surrounding juice stands proffering up free fruit blends to help the fashion crowd recover from last night’s festivities all made for nice distractions. The audience was more than content to just listen from a distance to the show music as the house did its second run though of the morning before opening up the venue to it’s invited guests.

And, once again, the Kenzo show was worth the wait.

To the thumping music that Mike D of the Beastie Boys created especially for the show and baptized “Humberto vs The New Reactionarie”(Christine and the Queens remix) the collection by Humberto Leon and Carol Lim was a celebration of the cool Californian surfer style.

The models were broken up into groups based on color combinations (blue and white, black and white, red and white) and stood like sentries above the audience inside the theater in the round. Then in a perfectly timed staging (those practice runs paid off) the men traipsed down the isle staircases to take a turn on the central round runway.

There the casual but clever show sunk its teeth into the idea of a “New Wave” collection. The designer duo did this literally, via cresting wave imagery on shirts, short and accessories, or a three dimensional wave embroidered onto a sweatshirt. Even more obviously they scrawled the words “New Wave” into knitwear and on shower shoes. The slightly subtler spin on the concept came by the way of scribbled line prints that added a sense of motion, like the tides, to a pair of pants or a shrunken lapeled jacket. The undulating color blocks on blazers and trousers was another understated way to get the surf message across.

The introduction of a series of black and white graffiti covered ensembles made for a nice reprieve from the pounding surf element of this show. But between the original prints, astute color choices, covetable soda can pull-tab necklaces and the layered silhouette of short sleeve shirts worn over ones with long sleeves and paired surf shorts, there was no doubt that Leon and Lim hit the laid back attitude of the West Coast beach vibe right on the nose.

- Jessica Michault

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