Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Kenzo love to travel, so it seemed fitting they would take us outside the Périphérique in Paris (the French M25) for their spring/summer 2016 show. Models slowly slid up the vast hangar space, on motorised blocks controlled by WiFi, moving without a glitch in their silent procession. The designers explained post show that this was a collection based around swimwear, “because we like to be beach ready” and the girl around which they had pinned their ideas “was travelling the world, picking up souvenirs wherever she went.”
So swimsuit details acted as underwear, with dresses and silk tops that were sporty in look and feel; clothes to leap, climb and jump in, complete with rubber scuba booties. Fabrics came in mostly printed silks, patchworked together in varying lengths and volume, with delicate T-shaped backs or backpack harnessing details. The graphic houndstooth and chevron patterns Lim said were inspired “by posters you see on the streets, pasted and torn, one on top of the other.” One dress had a patchwork of seventeen fabrics, “they were not happy in the atelier about that,” Leon smiled apologetically. Volume splayed out in plumes on short dresses created by irregular godets placed at the seams while trousers were either tapered or wide and skirts were A-line and short with big pockets. The sandal shoes and thigh high patent leather strapped boots had rather ingenious red nodule rubber soles, “based on massage shoes and we promise they really work,” insisted Leon.
However, the collection as a whole felt a bit stretched thin on ideas, as if they had struggled to create enough for their army of adventurers. But the designers’ success at Kenzo has been to invigorate the accessories (and no one has forgotten their brilliant sweatshirts either) and the circular carabiners on little leather pouches and slouchy soft bags were a neat touch that will surely excite their fans. As will the travel belt bags. And shoes that massage you as you run about your urban life? Yes please. We always like fashion that makes us feel better.
Fashion’s favourite material, denim is reinvented itself each season by designers and specialist labels alike. Whether it’s torn, embroidered, worn out, crumpled, hand painted, or cracked, the ultimate chameleon fabric is constantly reworked and revisited. Exit the pristine and brand-new, think used and custom-made this winter.
For those who like their A.P.C. jeans slightly over-sized and worn, but also fans of the original dark raw denim look, the French house has launched project Butler. If you prefer your denim raw, you can now return your old A.P.C. jeans in exchange for a brand-new pair, at cost price. The jeans will then be resold, marked with the initials of the original buyer who wore them, washed, mended and ironed inside out and tagged with a “Butler Worn-Out Series “, an allusion to a time when box-fresh just wasn’t cool.
For 10 years, the Indian designer Ashish Gupta has been mixing street with couture, sportwear with glam and urban with fluid to unveil blinged-up customizations more brights and sparkled each season. Star of the Ashish wardrobe, denim is recycled and customized with sequins, patches, feathers and embroidery.
A melting pot of cultures and generations, the MM6 show was big on customization, challenging proportions, lines and materials. Denim is a key material, punctuating the MM6 collection with an assortment of bandana patchwork designs.
Winner of the LVMH prize 2015, Portuguese designer Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida launched Marques’ Almeida in 2011. Based in London, the dui are inspired by the 1990s basics and minimalist/grunge style from the era. Jeans are an integral part of their collection, completely re-worked each season with silhouettes crafted from ripped, worn, cropped, cut and frayed denum the collection in a sartorial nod to Kate Moss style in the 1990s.