Kenzo Takada has changed his tune from "Oklahoma" last season to "Captain Kidd" and scored with another winner with his collection presented to buyers and press here Sunday night.
Kenzo's strength is that he never got bogged down by what clothes should look like or what can be worn, never having been nursed on Western clothes like other Paris designers.As a result he - and most of the Japanese designers - make whimsical, innovative designs. Kenzo stands out as making more wearable designs than the others.
(Last season Kenzo showed Western-inspired plaid, ruffled full skirts and ponyskin vests and pants. Models cracked whips as they came down the runway. Even today, there's a two-story cowboy cutout in front of his boutique on the Place des Victories.)
In the current collections for his "pirates" he has dreamed up the most full-blown pants and shirts, and hip-covering sweaters with patterns of what Kenzo thinks a pirate ship should look like. You may never have seen a pirate in red, white and blue knits, or in a ruffled smock but that doesn't stop Kenzo. Although he shows eye patches, scarves tied pirate-style and boots, he's only serious about the necklaces worn bandolier style.
It was Kenzo who kicked off the idea of oversized men's jackets and vests a season back that other designers have now picked up this season. But that doesn't stop Kenzo from doing it again and better than ever. This time he inflates the tailcoat to an oversized tunic worn belted revealing clearly bare-breasted models also wearing his popular large-at-the-top, tapered-to-the-hem pants. And the tuxedo shirts the models, forgot to wear have been inflated to the biggest tunics around worn over pants. To complete the outfit Kenzo suggests a black bow tie worn as a necklace.
The four-in-hand tie for women, another Kenzo idea that young girls here wear often is also supersized in the new collection and worn casually like a scarf.
Kenzo's third theme is the raj look from India done without any documentation to be sure, including long slim jackets or coats worn over pants. It is one of the rare hints in Paris that the inflated look will one day deflate to a slimmer silhouette.
Bernard Ozer, divisional vice president of Associated Merchanding Corp. (AMC) which guides stores including Woodward and Lothrop and Bloomingdales in their buying, admits to being a long-time Kenzo fan and says that this collection is one of his best. Certainly one of the most saleable and easy to wear Ozer said. "Imagine being able to make clothes inspired by India without their looking ethnic."