KENZO Goes Nautical For SS23

KENZO Goes Nautical For SS23

GEN V

KENZO Goes Nautical For SS23

A collection of ready-to-wear pieces inspired by the archives with a contemporary nautical twist. 

A collection of ready-to-wear pieces inspired by the archives with a contemporary nautical twist. 

Text: Madison San Miguel

A nautical summer awaits. For the KENZO Spring/Summer 2023 Women’s and Men’s collection, artistic director Nigo dips into the archives with silhouettes and motifs that allude to the designer’s discovery of the brand and the fashion landscape he was exposed to as a teen. Most of all, the collection showcases an array of de- and re-constructed pieces of the iconography of Kenzo Takada, and finds inspiration from the DC Brand Boom of 1980s Japan where colorful and cartoon-ish animal motifs meshed with the fashion culture of Paris—the spirit of SS23.

Courtesy of KENZO

The silhouettes of the collection are new interpretations of the archives of Takada, using a composition of tailoring, workwear, dresses, and skirts. Each branch from subcultural British tailoring values by using preppy undertones, while simultaneously being influenced by the uniforms of American railway workers and army repairmen in the 1930s and ‘40s. The dress shapes also take on the archive files, but with expressions from the ‘70s and ‘80s using long and flouncy dresses with tight hemlines. Nigo adds his personal touch in the collection by adding youthful and contemporary silhouettes to the varsity jackets, bomber jackets, boots, and more to evoke empowerment. All use Japanese denim, wool, and cotton with elements of nylon, lace, and other fabrics throughout. 

In reference to the DC Brand Boom, SS23 celebrates the graphic character of the fashion era with nautical influences: sailor collars, caps, and baton stripes that are reminiscent of the maritime uniform. There is also a mix of wavy checks and “dripping jacquards” in jackets and tops that is a replication of Kenzo’s Fall/Winter 1992 collection, plus a patchwork of sports-inspired flags that reference Takada and Nigo’s mutual love for reinventing their logos. The Wavy Stripe on shirts, ties, and knitwear is a similar motif displayed in the Fall/Winter 1988 collection, and the Misshuasshu and Patchiwāku both reference preference collections. 

Courtesy of KENZO
Courtesy of KENZO

A nod to the ‘80s is depicted on pixelated floral patterns but with a retro twist: the Boke flower is meshed with leopard print and cartoons, and Aloha floral prints from early Hawaiian shirts are printed on reconstructed kimonos. Other graphics, such as the Hana Leopard and Boke Boy, feature cartoon-ish characters or animals with flowers across garments and accessories. A unique take on Takada’s favorite animal, the elephant, is embroidered with the KenZō pattern on most of the collection’s outerwear and printed on jersey pieces. 

Nautical vibes and cartoon graphics continue through the accessories. Outside of sailor hats, the collection creates a dialogue between KENZO and Mühlbauer, "the heritage Viennese milliner frequented by Nigo for fifteen years," through straw hats and visors, bowler hats, and tie caps. KENZO also introduces a new basketball and running shoe with the KENZO Smile detail. There is also a Mary Jane and high-top and low-top loafers that build on their City Smile line.

Adding to the sailor-inspired collection, a boat shoe uses details from classic espadrilles and deck shoes, plus a twist to the Japanese Zori sandal with a rubber slide. Women’s bags are reflective of the youthful codes of college dressing with Rue Vivienne leather satchels with schoolboy clip fastenings, and shoulder bags that feature the same Boke flower in the collection’s garments. The Jungle bag line is expanded with a leather design. KENZO also introduces new luggage pieces with handheld suitcases and tubular backpacks. 

View the rest of SS23 below.

Courtesy of KENZO
Courtesy of KENZO
Courtesy of KENZO
Courtesy of KENZO
Courtesy of KENZO
Courtesy of KENZO
Credits: Cover image courtesy of KENZO

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