PARIS (AP) – It was a moment that made fashion history in Paris for Kenzo on Sunday, when it unveiled the debut of its first Japanese designer since the time of the founder of the house Kenzo Takada.
Nigo, 51, thus becomes only the second Asian designer to lead a European high fashion label, along with Bally’s Filipino-American Rhuigi Villaseñor. His appointment represents a milestone as the luxury industry struggles more broadly with questions about racism and diversity.
The exhibition venue of the Galerie Vivienne underlined the historical importance of the debut collection, anticipating parallels between Nigo and Takada. Both are Japanese, both studied at the same Tokyo fashion college decades apart, both have an artistic vision of east and west and are considered fashion decipherers.
The gallery is where Takada held his inaugural fashion show in 1970.
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Nigo’s close friend Pharrell Williams and Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, cheered among the antique bookstores along with an audibly enthusiastic audience after his vibrant creations were revealed.
Here are some highlights from Sunday’s fall-winter menswear shows at Paris Fashion Week:
The full circle of Kenzo
Nigo first gained worldwide fame with streetwear brand A Bathing Ape which he founded in 1993. Several decades later at the helm of one of the biggest brands of luxury giant LVMH, Kenzo, those bright colors and streetwise prints they were evident in the creative fusion with some traditional Kenzo themes such as the red poppy print.
Both designers, the house said, had “an understanding of the synthesis between Japanese and Western wardrobe traditions.” Nigo “sees it as a tunnel towards the future and beyond the boundaries of fashion”.
Thus, exaggeratedly oversized caps mixed with contrasting color prints on silk, loose coats in corn wool, neck scarves in printed silk, heavy loafers in shiny leather and high-waisted chinos. Stripes followed checks, tassels, straps and belts with golden buckles. There were also a number of finely tailored preppy looks with loose proportions, one of which nicely evoked the crisscross styles of Japanese clothing.
Nigo went all out, sending out a myriad of styles and silhouettes, as well as men’s and women’s designs, on this offbeat runway. Pure vitality was the only unifying theme.
Wooyoungmi goes to 1920s Moscow
Moscow’s glittering St.Basel’s Cathedral seeded colors and styles for menswear brand Wooyoungmi on Sunday to produce a collection that shimmered with jewel tones of pink, green, blue and orange.
Amor Towles’ novel “A Gentleman in Moscow” was what the South Korean brand inspired in its Russian reflections, with references to the richly decorated city and its famous churches embellishing the show.
Front-lacing scarves appeared to be the brand’s version of the ecclesiastical headdress, while patent-filing black boots sporting a thick sole were a stylish way to handle Russia’s famous winter snow.
Loose proportions, layers and sumptuous material defined the collection which was carefully thought out and executed.
The best time? When an unexpected decorated strap – which evokes the military – appeared from a beautifully tailored minimalist bronze wool coat. It was subtle but effective.
Sacai boots are made for posing
The impressive boots made with the down jacket material were the leitmotif of the Sacai fashion show by Chitose Abe.
With hoops, zippers, laces, ribs and frogs, the original footwear looked ready for a moon landing, presenting a fashionable aesthetic for the fall-winter season.
Elsewhere, an artistic collaboration with New York-based Japanese artist Madsaki has produced some food for thought in the form of large spray paint prints and embroidery on sweatshirts and the backs of jackets.
“Sheeple Zombies and Kool-Aid,” it reads, referring to how people who follow trends are unable to think independently.
It was a beautiful message for the home that prides itself on originality.
Abe was also in a nostalgic mood, reworking themes he had introduced in his early shows such as lingerie, which was integrated here as tailored bra cup stitching into jackets.