New Optimism: Kenzo Men’s Fall 2016

At Kenzo, the stark space was brought alive by an army of red-coated singers. They opened the show, marching their way en masse down the catwalk, filling its entire length. A conductor arrived, and the carefully placed television screens lit up with music notation and a minimalist choral version of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation ensued, arranged by Thomas Roussel. As the designers said in the show notes, “It is, after all, music that brings us together.

And, in what seems to be an emerging trend on the runways this season, those designers — Humberto Leon and Carol Lim — were looking back into the company’s past with peace and love on their minds. And quite literally on their clothes, with cute peace-sign buttons and dangling metallic peace-sign pendants hanging from ribboning attached to the clothes and tied around the models’ necks. They used the infamous Kenzo Takada graphic scrawl to great effect, and the loose-rib graphic knitwear was fantastic, in shades of mustard and Bordeaux.

It is no surprise that in these uncertain times, with civil unrest and financial turmoil, we are seeing companies rethink their strategy and their worldview. Kenzo put out a safe message of peace, with respect to Mr. Takada himself, one that would have pleased Miss Jackson, who sang, “With music by our side, to break the color lines, let’s work together, to improve our way of life.”

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