Kenzo develops collab archive collection with Kansai Yamamoto
The house of Kenzo has launched a new collection that combines the aesthetics and prints of two legendary designers – the brand’s founder Kenzo Takada and his famous fellow Japanese creator Kansai Yamamoto.
The collection is a blend of Takada’s celebration of nature intermixed with Yamamoto’s Animalia obsession, paying tribute to the two designers’ similarly exuberant vision of fashion. The results are a selection of punk-inspired pieces adorned with feline artworks by Kansai Yamamoto.
Yamamoto, who dressed David Bowie on his Ziggy Stardust tour, died in July this year; while Kenzo passed away in October. The house of Kenzo launched the posthumous collab with a snappy video following a group of young Parisians: actors, photographers and models wearing the collection, which is entitled Kenzo x Kansai Yamamoto.
“When I joined Kenzo in July 2019, I immediately started thinking about artists, designers and creatives with whom I wanted to collaborate. One of the first ideas I had was a collaboration between Kenzo and Kansai Yamamoto. Although their body of works are very different, the links and common traits between the two are manifold,” explained Kenzo’s creative director, Felipe Oliveira Baptista.
In effect, the two Japanese designers ignited a giant wave in fashion when they first moved to Europe as young men; Kenzo Takada to Paris in the late 1960s and Kansai to London in the early 1970s; pioneering the fusion of Eastern and Western cultures and leading a path followed by other Japanese talents.
Both Kenzo and Kansai referenced the animal world in their work: Kansai with multiple pop and manga interpretations and Kenzo with a more celebratory party-time twist. All told, there are 30 womenswear items, 25 menswear items, along with 22 accessories, ranging in price from €105 to €1,050.
“What really convinced me to start this idea was their common charge of joy, intuition and freedom. What a wonderful idea to start a dialogue between these two pioneers and fashion punks. Their energy and bite have remained intact, against the backdrop of Movida, the Spanish cultural movement of the early 1980s,” added Oliveira Baptista, who met both Kenzo and Kansai last year, receiving their blessing on the linkup.
The results is a meeting of motifs and works of art from the Kansai archives blended with Kenzo archive prints in a series of clothes that includes a black t-shirt with a Kansai tiger head on the front and back, in Japanese calligraphy. Handwritten by Kansai Yamamoto himself, its three lines read: Kenzo, Kansai, Felipe.
“Unfortunately they both passed away recently - which is why this collaboration takes on a very special meaning for me, becoming a tribute to them and their incredible talent,” added Portuguese-born Oliveira Baptista.
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