This year, fashion lost two of its most passionate talents Kenzo Takada and Kansai Yamamoto. Japanese designers arrived in Europe around the same time, around the late 60’s and early 70’s, and helped revolutionize fashion with their exuberant creations. For Kenzo’s current artistic director, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, the dream has always been to create collections that bring together creative second-hand works in new ways. “What really started me with this idea was their general explosion of joy, intuition, and freedom,” Baptista wrote. “Very good idea to start a dialogue between these two pioneers and punk fashions.”
After meeting the two designers in 2019 and receiving their blessings, Baptista began to imagine what the Kenzo x Kansai collection would look like. “Kenzo and Kansai are obsessed with animalia, and both are endlessly reinterpreting traditional representations of animals in Japanese art,” says Baptista. “Animals and animal prints often get the pop-manga treatment in Kansai, whereas in Kenzo it’s more about celebrating and their interactions with nature.” Both designers also value youth culture, comfort, and movement, as well as a general sense of joy. Most importantly, Baptista noted, “Both believe that fashion should speak to everyone.”
The Kenzo x Kansai Yamamoto collection which is inaugurated today is a posthumous tribute to these values. Photographed in Paris, Baptista’s interpretations of Kenzo and Kansai’s work include t-shirts, jackets, pants and accessories that feature images of animals, Japanese text, and a hint of color on your face. “I believe this is probably how both Kenzo and Kansai would like to be remembered. Both of them dedicate their lives to instilling joy into the world, ”he said. “My favorite cut is a black T-shirt with a Kansai tiger head on the front and back, in Japanese calligraphy handwritten by Kansai Yamamoto himself, three lines that read: Kenzo, Kansai, Felipe.”
The collection will go on sale on November 30th. Think of it as an important 2020 memento, a touching tribute to the loss of fashion and a small sign of where we are going from here.
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