PARIS (AP) — Kenzo designer Nigo has found his groove for his second collection at the LVMH-owned house, drawing vibrant parallels with house founder Kenzo Takada.
Nigo made history as the first Japanese designer to take center stage since Takada, who died in 2020.
But beyond fashion, Nigo – who has done high profile collaborations with Pharrell – has a real star attraction, once again attracting top VIPs this season such as Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel.
Here are some highlights of the spring-summer 2023 men’s collections from Sunday in Paris.
KENZO’S RETURN TO THE GROOVE
Set in a college hall and with a preppy ’70s vibe, Nigo channeled the dazzling colors and mix-and-match cultural fusion that have become synonymous with the house’s origins.
Hanging from the roof, flags bearing the inscription “Kenzo 1970”. For fashion students, a reference not lost: This date was not only the year when Takada presented his first fashion show at the Galerie Vivienne in Paris in front of his new boutique, Jungle Jap, but it was also the year of Nigo’s birth.
Funky scarves, a spin on Boy Scout styles, turned into colorful lapels on suits that riffed on the uniform.
A bright yellow vest laden with patches had an African vibrancy and mixed with Breton striped scarves, nautical themes and Asian crossover styles in the jackets. It has created a vibrant cultural melting pot.
But it was eccentricity and humor that defined spring-summer in this strong show – thick woolen socks over canary-yellow flip-flops, crimson flower appliqués and multicolored bowler hats.
Nigo, 51, is only the second Asian designer to helm a European haute couture brand, alongside Filipino-American Rhuigi Villaseñor de Bally. His appointment continues to represent a milestone as the luxury industry grapples more broadly with questions about racism and diversity.
Screaming and crying fans crowded loudly on both sides of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris ahead of Celine’s show on Sunday evening. Yet they didn’t show up for designer Hedi Slimane’s fashion, but to catch a glimpse of one of the world’s most beloved popstars: Kim Taehyung, aka V of BTS, the multimillion-selling South Korean boy band discs.
Inside the venue, the debates around the staging of the spring-summer collection were slightly calmer. Guests drank mini bottles of “CELINE” branded champagne, while large abstract mirrors descended on ropes from the ceiling reflecting light in all directions to funky rock music.
Shaggy-haired teenage models grumpily walked by, in the designer’s signature style, showcasing his early ’70s styles that were very shimmery and riffed on LA rock.
Winklepickers and blue jeans were topped with fringed black leather coats and sunglasses – in the French-Tunisian designer’s tried-and-true styles. Slightly flared black trousers were used as a backdrop for fringed coats and jackets. One of them was adorned with dazzling gold sequins.
Yet despite the razzmatazz, there was little new here in the creator’s repertoire. For Slimane, who bought a similar aesthetic from Saint Laurent with panache, it’s a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
THE SWEET CONTRADICTIONS OF WOOYOUNGMI
Understatement met moments of punk – and the “late 1990s skateboarding community” – in South Korean designer Woo Young Mi’s collection on Sunday, held in the ornate interiors of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Sleek cuts on suits, like a double-breasted number that opened the show with a delicate dart at the waist, contrasting with sneakers and white vests. It made for a skillful game of contradiction.
Pants were a big theme – designed in a trendy 90s baggy style. They hung in a nice curved shape at the bottom of the leg.
There were moments of sensuality – and humor – throughout this mixed 42-piece show that marked two decades since the brand’s launch. A tactile, semi-sheer blue punk vest was worn by a model with oily grungy hair who was clutching a chic square leather bag.
THOM BROWNE’S INFINITE VARIATIONS
It was a performative runway occasion for costume lover Thom Browne, as the likes of Farida Khelfa – dressed head to toe in the designer’s outfit – arrived in theaters to take their seats after the show had apparently started. Guests were laughing at what appeared to be intentional choreography.
A strange retro voice-over then signaled that the “real” show was about to begin – as a male model with giant, spiky punk hair strutting around in a tailored ecru jacket, tie and shorts.
Pastel gray tweeds with contrasting patterns – and countless layers totally unsuitable for the spring-summer season – followed. They were worn by a mannequin with a decorative anchor covering her face holding a hound-shaped bag and a “35” sign in the tradition of old-fashioned couture, which featured numbered looks.
Striped socks, fitted shorts, tweed skirts, black briefcases and pastel checkered and striped suits created what seemed like endless variations on the same theme.