The cre­ative duo be­hind KENZO talk us through the brand’s H&M col­lab­o­ra­tion

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents -

Carol Lim and Hum­berto Leon.

LAST YEAR, H&M’S col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bal­main launched a thou­sand queues world­wide. This year, the Swedish re­tailer has teamed up with Carol Lim and Hum­berto Leon of Kenzo to cre­ate a col­lec­tion that fuses the best of the brand’s archives with the cur­rent cre­ative di­rec­tors’ vi­sion. Given Lim and Leon’s track record of de­vel­op­ing cov­etable col­lab­o­ra­tions for their Open­ing Cer­e­mony stores, cou­pled with their un­canny abil­ity to de­velop cult items at Kenzo sea­son after sea­son, this may well be H&M’S most hype-wor­thy of­fer­ing yet. BAZAAR chat­ted to the de­sign­ers about tiger-print jump­suits and the re­turn of the ki­mono.

HARPER’S BAZAAR: Why did you say yes to col­lab­o­rat­ing with H&M? HUM­BERTO LEON: We’ve been big ad­mir­ers of their col­lab­o­ra­tions from the be­gin­ning, and they do such a great job of cel­e­brat­ing each of the brands they work with. they don’t want any com­pro­mise, but in­stead want to cap­ture the real spirit and en­ergy of the brand. they’ve worked with some amaz­ing peo­ple be­fore, so we knew we were in great com­pany.

HB: Ev­ery project you em­bark upon is so con­sid­ered. What was your goal or in­ten­tion for your col­lab­o­ra­tion with H&M? CAROL LIM: Since we started as cre­ative di­rec­tors of Kenzo, we’ve never fo­cused a col­lec­tion on the archives of the founder, Kenzo Takada. there are so many peo­ple around the world who only know our take on Kenzo, and we thought this would be an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to tell the in­cred­i­ble story of the brand. Kenzo x H&M is like a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween us and Mr Takada, mix­ing our ver­sion of Kenzo with his to cre­ate pieces that are unique.

HB: What im­ages were on the mood­board for this col­lec­tion? HL: Im­ages we took over time, as well as iconic im­ages from Mr­takada’s cam­paigns. there was one fa­mous im­age of mod­els wear­ing tiger-print colour jump­suits, which was the in­spi­ra­tion for the tiger-print jersey tops and match­ing pants in Kenzo x H&M. It was great to take his orig­i­nal ideas and present them in a to­tally new way.

HB: How much of the col­lec­tion was in­spired by the Kenzo archives? For ex­am­ple, were the folk­loric and ki­mono ref­er­ences drawn from a par­tic­u­lar era of Kenzo de­signs? CL: There are some of Mr Takada’s in­flu­ences in the col­lec­tion, like folk­loric dress and the ki­mono, as well as the less fa­mous. Kenzo is a Parisian brand and so many of his de­signs had a fe­male flir­ta­tious­ness to them. It runs through­out the col­lec­tion, from the fluid silk print dresses to the ruf­fles dec­o­rat­ing many of the pieces.we mainly looked at gar­ments from the ’70s and ’80s, match­ing them with our de­signs so ev­ery piece spans mul­ti­ple decades. HB: Tell us about some of the key prints in the col­lec­tion. HL: Print is a true sig­na­ture of Kenzo and we wanted to choose prints that rep­re­sented both Mr­takada’s time and our own era at Kenzo.we se­lected the tiger print and a flo­ral print from the archives, and then chose our mesh, medal­lion and leop­ard print. Of­ten in the col­lec­tion, we’ve used dif­fer­ent prints in the same look, even over­lay­ing them to cre­ate some­thing fresh, like the mesh and flo­ral print mix on one side of the re­versible ki­mono.we love work­ing with print so much, es­pe­cially when they’re mixed and clashed with so much fun and free­dom.

“[H&M] have worked with amaz­ing peo­ple, so we knew we were in great com­pany.”

a m L i l o a r C n . e o L All pieces are from the Kenzo x H&M col­lec­tion, which launches in stores on Novem­ber 3;

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