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  • Danielle Wightman-Stone

Kenzo launches collaboration with Kansai Yamamoto

Kenzo has launched a new collection for autumn/winter 2020 that acts as a tribute to the creativity of two legends of Japanese design, the brand’s founder Kenzo Takada and Kansai Yamamoto, famous for being David Bowie’s go-to designer.

The archive collection, spearheaded by Kenzo’s creative director, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, combines the aesthetics and prints of both designers, with motifs and artworks from Yamamoto’s archives reworked and mixed with archival prints from Kenzo with the calligraphy written by Yamamoto and printed on the garments.

Spanning across menswear, womenswear and accessories, the punk-inspired collection is ultimately a tribute to them both following their recent deaths as well as a way for the fashion house to highlight their incredible talents.

In a statement, Baptista explained: “When I first joined Kenzo in July 2019, I immediately started to think of artists, designers and creatives that I would like to collaborate with. One of the ideas that first came to my mind was a collaboration between Kenzo and Kansai Yamamoto. Although their body of work is very distinctive, the connections and links between the two are multiple.

“They are the first two Japanese designers to arrive in Europe; Kenzo Takada in Paris in the late 60’s and Kansai in London in the early 70’s. They both revolutionised fashion through their colourful and practical extravaganzas — and in their own distinctive ways, were the pioneers in fusing eastern and western cultures.”

The collaboration was conceived following Baptista’s meeting with Takada in Paris in July 2019 and Yamamoto in August 2019 and marks the last project that Takada worked on before he passed.

Baptista, added: “Both Kenzo and Kansai believed in comfort easy to move in clothes. Both believed that fashion should talk to everyone. I believe this is probably how both Kenzo and Kansai would have liked to be remembered. Both who dedicated their lives to infuse joy into the world through their work.

“Tragically they both passed away recently, which gives this collaboration a very special meaning to me, and ultimately a tribute to them and their incredible talent.”

Baptista’s interpretations of both designer’s work include T-shirts, jackets, trousers, and accessories featuring animal graphics and Japanese calligraphy handwritten by Kansai Yamamoto himself. Key pieces include an oversized leopard T-shirt with kimono-style sleeves, a statement black puma dress, and a three tigers loose-fitting T-shirt with a tiger crest embroidery.

Kenzo x KansaiYamamoto collection ranges from 100 to 920 pounds.

Images: courtesy of Kenzo


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