Surf’s Up: Kenzo Men’s Fall 2017

For the second time, and for the foreseeable future, Kenzo showed both their menswear and womenswear collections at the same time. It made for an epic 88-look show, with clipped audio from Obama’s climate change speeches. It was only natural that New Yorkers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, Kenzo’s creative directors since 2011, would have the controversial presidential election on their minds. Trump’s inauguration took place the day before the show, and immediately all references to climate change were removed from the official White House website.

It appeared they were determined to keep a brave face, focusing on the little known subculture of arctic surfers, and, in the show notes’ own words, “celebrating the women and men who experience as raw an environment as it gets.” Both men and women were arctic-ready in full technical winter snowsuits, and shoes that looked fit for the harshest terrain. The colors were high brights, so as not to get lost in the snowy plains, and layers were heavy to reduce windchill. The knitwear was particularly successful, with Aaran cable knits dyed in multicolored dégradé to imitate the aurora borealis phenomenon.

The whole show played out in a huge warehouse, with the seats in a square, and the open backstage in the middle of the space. It was fun to see the models get psyched up and counted in, but a little hard to swallow the irony of Obama’s clipped words on climate change while observing the incredible number of energy-consuming lights and the clouds of hairspray added just before the models’ exits. 

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