KENZO FW23 Fuses Traditional Japanese Constructions With American Workwear and British Attitudes

One year at the House’s helm, Nigo’s KENZO is coming into focus. Inside Salle Pleyel, the visionary’s Fall/Winter 2023 designs marched through the venue’s massive concert hall to the 1966 Quartet’s string renditions of The Beatles. There, a star-studded glitterati (namely, Lisa Rinna, Erika Jayne, Mia Khalifa, Tyga, Pusha T and Pharrell, among others) entered “The White Album,” a men’s and women’s collection that adventures across global cultures, time periods and style tropes.

For this season, Nigo examines the familiarities and the contrasts between his reality and the world of Kenzo Takada. Building on the Maison’s archives, the designer fuses Takada’s 1980s portfolio with contemporary iterations influenced by British, American and Japanese street culture. Balanced by the dialogue between traditional Japanese design codes and classic American workwear, the collection lets Nigo’s original structures define KENZO’s modern identity. And, it echoes the unequivocal legacy of Dame Vivienne Westwood, whose work holds a critical influence over Nigo’s process.

Across the line, tailoring calls on different eras: collarless tunic jackets, tapered trousers and mini-skirts reference 1960s suiting silhouettes, while ’80s-inspired shapes recall the decades’ b-boy culture. While different in their construction, each design is similar in its approach, as Nigo blends Western design codes with Japanese martial arts grammar. A ’70s leather coat becomes new with patchwork shearling inspired by American military codes, while denim washes mimic those of the ’90s.

Traditional Japanese uniforms inspire Y-shaped coat closures, while oversized skirts resemble Great Britain’s kilts. Nylon, knitwear and jersey are balanced by British, Scottish, and Italian wools, jacquard, velvets and fil coupé, in the collection’s expansive textile discussion. Cableknit sweaters comprise Irish Donegal tweed, and the brand’s fair isle explodes with color across 3D-knitted, lurex-threaded manifestation.

Overall, the collection celebrates global identities and their artisanal differences, all under the legacy of Kenzo Takada.

Peruse KENZO’s FW23 collection in the gallery above, and discover more Paris Fashion Week FW23 content on Hypebeast.

Elsewhere, COMME des GARÇONS HOMME PLUS’ FW23 collection relies on deconstruction and reconstruction.
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