It was an especially sunny morning in February during Paris Fashion Week. Guests chatted among themselves as they sat in a winding plastic bubble, a labyrinth set in a garden courtyard, waiting for the Kenzo show to start. Then, suddenly, music began pounding as the first model appeared, wearing a sombre, all-black elongated suit jacket and a hooded cape that obscured half of his face. He was followed by models draped in a series of tunics and utilitarian wrap coats.
A few people cocked their heads in surprise—gone were the giant logos, the midriff-baring athleisure and the cartoon tigers stitched to the chests of sweaters, signatures of Kenzo’s previous creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. This was Kenzo by its newly appointed steward, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who means to strip the brand down to its core. “Kenzo’s been doing elaborate shows in the last few years, but it’s been less and less about the clothes,” the 45-year-old designer tells me. Lim’s and Leon’s final show was a spectacle with 3,000 guests and a live performance by Solange Knowles. “So I decided to put everyone front row, in a garden with no decoration, to focus on the clothes. I wanted to bring back desirable things that people want to wear, like coats people can feel protected in.”
The Portuguese designer, who trained at Max Mara, Christophe Lemaire, Cerruti and his own label from 2003 to 2014, was most recently the creative director of Lacoste before joining Kenzo, the LVMH-controlled house founded by the free-spirited Japanese designer Kenzo Takada. Oliveira Baptista named his debut show Going Places, a tribute to the nomadic spirit of the house, but in a way it could be a reference for where he’s about to take the brand. “One of the first things I did was take out ‘Paris’ from the logo because Kenzo for me is from everywhere and for everyone,” he says.
Kenzo Takada sadly died this October at the age of 81 of the coronavirus. He first moved from Japan to Paris in the Sixties, by way of Hong Kong, Mumbai and Ho Chi Minh City. His itinerant spirit informed the aesthetic of the fashion house he started in 1970, which marks its 50th anniversary this year. Best known for his contagious optimism, Takada left an indelible mark on the fashion capital: his label referenced an eclectic medley of cultural influences with obvious nods to Japan, jumbled with floral and animal motifs. He became one of the most respected Asian designers of the 20th century and his legacy is now being carried on by Oliveira Baptista.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
What Goes Well with Ox?
Searching for an appropriate gift for the Chinese New Year, our resident wine expert finds there’s more to consider than white or red
The latest trend in spirituality might just cast a spell on you. Is there really something behind all the fuss about “ritual magick”, or is it all just hocus pocus?
Poetry and Purpose
As beauty and wellness become increasingly driven by values rather than value, the influence of Aesop and its pioneering concept is becoming undeniable
The Mind's Eye
According to hypnotherapist Sonia Samtani, deep emotional healing begins with a journey into your subconscious. Here’s how she can take you there
Who Says It's a Man's World?
The first woman to hold the chief gemmologist position in Tiffany & Co’s 183-year history, Victoria Reynolds talks us through the biggest moment of her career
We Made It!
As we enter 2021, we look back on a troubled year for the watch industry. But things aren’t as bleak as you might think
For years the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art has been at the forefront of the art scene in Beijing—now it’s expanding beyond the capital
A Material Girl
Having grown up with a bird’s eye view on an era of fast fashion, Veronica Chou is on a mission to promote sustainability for all
The Winning Image
Bryson DeChambeau recently won his first US Open, with a Rolex Sky-Dweller on his wrist
Danny Yeung, CEO and co-founder of genetic testing company Prenetics, has launched fast, cheap and—he says—accurate Covid-19 rapid testing to help restore normality to a stricken world.
bold and beautiful
WHAT WILL HAPPEN • Liam receives shocking news. • Thomas makes a heartfelt apology to Hope. • Steffy is torn about divulging the truth when Finn opens up to her about his desire for their future.
BIDEN PLEDGES TO REJOIN PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT
“TODAY, THE TRUMP Administration officially left the Paris Climate Change Agreement,” tweeted President-elect Joe Biden on November 4, 2020. “And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.”
AS LEADERS SET FRESH CLIMATE GOALS, BIDEN PLEDGES US SUPPORT
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden pledged to rejoin the Paris climate accord on the first day of his presidency, as world leaders staged a virtual gathering to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the international pact aimed at curbing global warming.
B&B: CONFLICT WITH ZOE AND PARIS
Though she was initially glad to see Paris, Zoe feels it’s time for her sib to move on.
HER TIME TO SHINE!
Up Close & Personal - Beverly Hills, Oct. 27
DIAMOND WHITE JOINS B&B
The Forrester Creations team meets Zoe’s younger sister, Paris Buckingham, who breezes into Los Angeles this week. According to her portrayer, the siblings couldn’t be more different.
The Guillotine Mystique
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION HAS LONG INSPIRED PROGRESSIVE RADICALS READY FOR CHANGE AT ANY COST.
CHRONICLES of CRIME
THE MILLENIUM SERIES
FRENCH COURT: GOOGLE MUST OPEN PAYMENT TALKS WITH PUBLISHERS
A French appeals court upheld an order for Google to open negotiations with French publishers over payments to use their news content.
PATHETIC PARIS SPEARS-FISHING FOR FAME!
IN A desperate bid to get attention and return to relevance, forgotten celebrity ditz Paris Hilton has joined the crusade to help Britney Spears gain control over her $59 million fortune