For the venue of his debut runway show as Artistic Director of Kenzo, Nigo chose Galerie Vivienne, a nod to designer and founder Kenzo Takada, who unveiled his first collection in 1970 in the mythic Parisian arcade. His combined men’s and women’s collection for Fall/Winter 2022 is infused with a “real-to-wear” spirit that blends heritage with contemporary codes.
Under the natural lighting of the glass roof over the Galerie Vivienne, 60 feminine and masculine silhouettes took to the catwalk against the backdrop of a soundtrack featuring an exclusive preview of the designer’s upcoming album I Know Nigo, with contributions from Pharrel Williams and Tyler, The Creator, among others. The artists joined other guests for Nigo’s first show, warmly wrapped in Kenzo logo blankets, to witness the birth of a new style marked by multiple cultures, at the same time authentic and avant-garde. Nigo fused American influences and Japanese culture to create a harmonious dialogue. Varsity jackets with Ivy League patches and aviation jackets are joined by traditional Japanese garments like the samue worn by potters – a craft that Nigo practices – or hanten, a traditional piece revisited in double-faced wool for coats, as well as cropped jackets lined with wool flannel.
Faithful to Kenzo Takada’s real-to-wear ethos, Nigo mixes tailoring and workwear for a genderless silhouette. Sturdy salopettes in Japanese denim with yellow topstitching are joined by suits in the Prince of Wales checks and stripes employed by Kenzo Takada. Prints of original sketches by the founder cover white ensembles for women and men. In knitwear, Nigo explores plays of color and texture, connecting with the beginnings of the Maison. The date 1970 was also ubiquitous at the show, stitched on a myriad of berets, mirroring Nigo’s birthday in Japan and the year Kenzo Takada was revealed in Paris as a designer destined to become one of the best of his generation.
Poetry informs the accessories in the collection as well. The Maison’s emblematic poppy is embroidered on denim, escaping from a vase-like pocket, painted on shoes or woven as a thick knitwear ornament. Kenzo Paris labels in the same poppy red embellish the sleeve of a suit, add a signature to a bag or play across both sides of a tie. Kenzo’s tiger code turns tame in a new Aka-e Tiger watercolor motif created by Nigo for comforting contemporary feline fleece scarves. Bags include reversible pouch bags embroidered with maps of Japan on one side and France on the other, another affirmation of the unique ties between the two cultures as Maison Kenzo embarks on a new creative chapter in its history.