October 4, 2020, was a sad day in the fashion world. Kenzo Takada died aged 81 following his battle with COVID-19, and the news shook every one in the fashion world and beyond, among them Felipe Oliveira Baptista who joined Kenzo in the summer of 2019. In the note show, Baptista wrote: “Our acquaintance was brief, nevertheless it felt like I lost someone close to me. The following Monday I was back at work, still numb from the recent shock. Time to start working on the next collection. Where to start?”.
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In times such as these, it’s often best to revisit the past and reflect. So that’s exactly what Baptista did by evoking the founder’s presence through the colors, the spherical and orbital, the folkloric, and the cross-cultural.
Thus, Baptista invites us into Takada’s vision but combines this with a contemporary approach and with some of his own contemporary ideas. As a result, archival garments were photographed and cataloged for studying before they were reimagined. “Collage, cut, paste, erase, draw, turn them inside out, then upside down, dissect them, pull them apart, and back together again. Sketchbooks were filled with collages, drawings and pictures of possibilities. Possibilities of a new narrative, a new collection, a new silhouette, new clothes, new functionalities, new sensualities. Possibilities of a new world. A world without borders, prejudices, and stereotypes”, notes Baptista.
The result includes plenty of color and motion, littered with all the things Takada loved – “Landscapes, hortensias, birds, chains, roses, stripes, pansies, tulips, and cocktail glasses”. All his innovations cut into rich flowing shapes and multiple parkas, capes and trenches made in techy fabrics and finishes.
All told, a very fine, and very Kenzo collection, which surely would have pleased Monsieur Takada, an inveterate party animal and possibly the greatest bon vivant in fashion.
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