The forecast for Paris today was for glorious, heatwave-level temperatures (of which more later). But Kenzo’s late morning show, in the vast gymnasium of the Lycee Carnot, coincided with a lull of balmy cool. Inside the imposing school venue, lines of mercifully cushioned benches were studded with paper boats, folded from a quaintly old-school adventure map of Hawaii and the South Seas. 

And from the moment the opening bars of “Good Vibrations” bounced out onto the sound system, it was clear that Antonio Marras had a cheerfully upbeat summer in mind. Rosy-cheeked models with marcelled hair descended into the space in rainbow-shaded resort uniforms, pairing intense cerise with sky, or grass-green and vivid yellow (alternating with calmer swathes of dusty rose, powder blue and off-whites. Hawaiian shirts were a consistent reference, but their loose informality was offset with the raffish expat elegance of Riviera loungewear.

Intricate, evocative prints are Kenzo’s stock-in-trade, but here they had a soft romance – giant blush-toned botanical drawings, abstracted leaf silhouettes, muted polka dots and swirling, retro upholstery florals: an effect counterbalanced by a sharper edge than usual, with flatly cut, oversized outerwear, and vibrant bursts of solid colour on jackets, accessories and shoes.

But the final impact, from the shabby grandeur of the setting to the delicately magical island scenes painted onto shirts and scarves, was a sense less of literal tropical tailoring, than of nostalgic schoolboy escapism into a make-believe exotic world – a whimsical theatricality brought to ecstatic conclusion in the finale, with clouds of bubbles drifting from the ceiling onto the audience and models below.

Images courtesy of Nowfashion


Posted by: John-Michael O


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