In 1970, Kenzo Takada installed a patch of jungle in the Galerie Vivienne in the heart of Paris. With its colorful prints and declaration of freedom, Kenzo shook up the couture codes of the time by irreverently breaking the rules. Keeping this joyous and colorful heritage alive, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim took over the artistic direction of the House in 2011. This extraordinary creative duo rediscovered the pioneering and offbeat spirit that lies behind Kenzo’s success.
When Parisian elegance met the laid-back spirit of California, it gave rise to the Kalifornia, a bag that reflects Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, the duo of artistic directors at Kenzo. The asphalt and coastline of their teenage years in Southern California are captured in this bag with urban chic style.
The history of 18 rue Vivienne, Kenzo’s current head office, is filled with sudden developments and famous owners. This now legendary address is located a short distance from the Galerie Vivienne that was home to the House’s first Parisian boutique in 1970. In 1640, Jacques Coquet, the treasurer of France and controller-general of finances for Paris, asked the architect Pierre Le Muet to build him a mansion with two wings, one looking out onto the street and the other between a courtyard and a garden.
Through exchanges, sales, division and inheritance, it passed from owner to owner, including the Marquis de Mallebois, Master of Requests and Colbert’s nephew, the Marquis de Fontenay-Trésigny, war minister under Louis XV, before becoming, in a fitting twist of fate, a House selling silk and wool. Shaped by time, 18 rue Vivienne today houses most of the Kenzo departments, including the studio, the workshop, the support functions and product development, and today powerfully embodies the House’s spirit.
Opened in Hong Kong and Shanghai, the new Kenzo boutiques offer a retail experience that has been reinvented by Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. An incredible combination of fashion and technology, you only have to lift up a hanger for an integrated screen on the rail to display an animated editorial about the item. An oversize digital wall shows exclusive synthesized images and season videos – dream-like windows on the world of Kenzo. A resolutely modern way to make the Kenzo experience even more digital, generous and immersive.
- 73 stores around the world
- 270 employees in France and Europe
- 25 different nationalities