Kenzo Takada was a foreigner in France. So are Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Kenzo’s current standard-bearers. Their new collection for Resort, Leon explained, is about “embracing our outsider status in Paris.” Tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty (a French gift to America, remember) appeared on the souvenir brass buttons on peacoats, and the show was staged at Four World Trade Center, a site never used for a fashion show before. “The World Trade Center felt like a great trinity to those iconic places,” Leon said.
It could’ve gone kitsch, but it didn’t. The clothes had a nice, graphic sensibility. Chalk that up to Leon and Lim’s exaggerated take on typical French marinière stripes and their bold use of polka dots, one of Resort’s recurring motifs. (Puffed-up cotton separates somewhat clouded their streamlined message.) The Kenzo designers are the ones who kick-started fashion’s current mania with logo sweatshirts. This show was blessedly free of them, which elevated the proceedings further. But that didn’t mean the label’s signature look was completely grown-up. Pinafore dresses and printed rompers and minis ensured that the mood remained young and energetic. Still, the most striking look was the most sophisticated: A royal blue ankle-grazing silk shirtdress with a split side seam exposed a whole lotta leg over flat gladiator sandals.