One thing everyone is wrong about the 70s – not that I was there, but saw a parcel of documentaries and read a ton about drugs – that’s how everyone was moving. It wasn’t just that everyone was at Studio 54. No, they were dancing at Studio 54. They ranged from dinner at the Bœuf sur le Toit to end-of-hour ragers at the Palace. And people moved on the catwalks, too: Models like Pat Cleveland brought physical expression to Yves Saint Laurent and Kenzo’s shows, and illustrator Antonio Lopez imbued his drawings with vitality.
“We miss this so much,” said Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who was installed as Kenzo’s creative director in 2019, during a Zoom call earlier this week. “We’re so used to seeing fashion as a straight pose: someone walking towards you, with an expressionless face.”
Baptista became particularly aware of this after the death of Kenzo Takada, the eponymous founder of the house which Baptista now runs. Takada died just two days after Baptista’s last show, last October, and in archival photographs and footage that subsequently circulated, the new designer was struck by the shows movement of ago. long time. The fall 2021 show that debuted on Friday was a tribute – or maybe, he said, a celebration. “Part of the magic [of] Kenzo was that people were really having fun, ”Baptista explained. “It was really happy and intuitive. And I think that more than ever it has become really relevant.
Working with director Oliver Hadlee Pearch and choreographer Jordan Robson, Baptista created an in-round video of models dancing emotionally, their clothes practically flying. He based many pieces on archival drawings, but also incorporated many of his own works. Takada’s liberated but luxurious eye is very present: the long, thick coats of mohair; fluid overalls and pants in rich neon; puffy gowns; and the giant printed ponchos all carry his influence. (Baptista mentioned that some of his workshop employees worked there alongside Takada himself.) Even the stills in the video have a vitality that echoes the energy of Takada’s parades. If Dries Van Noten’s earlier this month collection, which also featured a choreographed show with striking imagery, suggested a sensitive and mature release demand, Baptista channels a particularly youthful optimism.
Baptista has a unique challenge in fashion, although it really is more of an opportunity. His predecessors, opening ceremony founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, certainly designed in conversation with Kenzo’s legacy, though their printed suits and workwear-inspired outerwear were much more contemporary. and fashionable from the work of the creator. Their Kenzo emerged simultaneously with the streetstyle boom – sleek graphic clothing perfect for a photographer’s lens, to be admired by people strapped to desks or glued to phones. This is what most people know about Kenzo. It was one of the defining brands for a time that suggested that “anyone” could attend fashion week, if they just had the right tiger sweatshirt.
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