FIVE MINUTES WITH ...
The creative duo behind KENZO talk us through the brand’s H&M collaboration
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; hm.com.