Taking place at the Passerelle Debilly, with the Eiffel Tower in the backdrop, Kenzo presented its Spring 2024 show at Paris Fashion Week. Since taking the reins of the brand in 2021, Japanese designer Nigo has brought youthfulness to Kenzo and presented a renewed brand to the world. Clearly, this collection marked another chapter in this journey. Bridging East and West, the designer evoked the city pop revival in a collection aptly titled “City Pop Paris.”

A Helping Hand from VERDY

For the Spring Summer 2023 season, Nigo called upon Japanese graphic designer, VERDY, to lend Kenzo a helping hand by reinterpreting house codes such as the logo and archival pieces. If the name rings a bell, VERDY has recently been announced as the artistic director of BLACKPINK’s “Born Pink” tour. The designer has carved an extensive portfolio of collaborative works with various brands and retailers including Undercover and Nike SB. However, he is better known for designing the graphics behind Japanese labels Girls Don’t Cry and Wasted Youth. After a long-winded journey of making a name for himself, this collaboration with Kenzo marks a full-circle moment for the designer, who has previously credited Nigo for inspiring his work. 

The Collection

In true Nigo fashion, the show kicked off with a head-to-toe denim look. Of course, with this textile being a signature of the creative director, it was only righteous for him to explore new plays on the material in his latest collection. The denim featured an angular rose graphic print — VERDY’s reinterpretation from Kenzo’s archive — on outerwear and bottoms. The graphic especially caught attention emblazoned on a boxy denim coat from the opening look.

The roses then took a bolder form as models walked the runway in floral printed looks of dashing shades of blue and red. Shortly after, the collection took a softer route when models dressed in pastel shades strutted down the bridge. The geometric rose once again appeared in this plethora of pastel ensembles, printed atop buttery yellow and baby blue fabrics. The looks then shifted into earthier tones with deeper shades of brown, navy, and green.

Photos courtesy of Kenzo

Although there was a progressive feel to the clothing, a sense of nostalgia still wavered through. It couldn’t be otherwise as the collection drew inspiration from the city pop scene. City pop is a genre of music that rose to fame in the mid-1970s in post-war Japan. This music naturally became the soundtrack of Kenzo Takada’s teenage years in Japan. Likewise, The music genre is something that Nigo himself is familiar with. With these influences shaping the collection, Nigo embraced Kenzo’s East-meets-West spirit and brought back silhouettes reminiscent of that era — namely, modernized Kimonos, thick-belted wrap pants, and pleated detailing. 

The New Face of Kenzo

Prior to the presentation, the house took a big step in further bridging fashion and entertainment by appointing Vernon from the K-pop group SEVENTEEN as Kenzo’s first Global Brand Ambassador. Beyond his music career, the star is known for his distinct fashion affinities and for his avid interest in pop culture. Regarding this partnership, Vernon shared, “I feel honoured and fortunate to be KENZO’s Global Ambassador. I’m excited to explore the synergy this partnership will introduce and look forward to showcasing a new side of me to fans around the world.”

Photo courtesy of Kenzo

As announced on the day of his appointment, Vernon made his first appearance as Global Ambassador at Kenzo’s Spring 2024 show. The star sported a black version of a zip-up leather jacket featuring VERDY’s graphics. The piece was taken straight off the runway and styled with a simple black tank top and a thin chain necklace. Bringing a sense of attitude and spunk to Nigo’s Kenzo, Vernon also sported striped high-waisted cargo pants. 

Photo courtesy of Kenzo

Star-Studded Seats

In addition to Vernon, Kenzo also invited Japanese stars to watch the show. Model slash digital creator Yamato Inoue brought a touch of prep to the show, donning a V-neck vest layered over a shirt and tie. His look was playfully completed with a pair of shorts. Actor and model Shuzo Ohira also attended the show in a suave get-up — an oversized beaded bomber with a tailored shirt paired with striped cargo denim.

Louis Vuitton’s new creative director, Pharell, was also seated front row, showing sincere support to his longtime friend and collaborator, Nigo. Pharell wore a navy two-piece set from the runway and styled it with a sunny yellow Speedy bag that has been making headlines as Fashion Week unfolds. Other stars gracing the VIP section were Dove Cameron, who opted for a striped suit, and Winnie Harlow dressed in a body-hugging floral maxi dress.

Nigo continuously looks back on Kenzo’s origins, putting his own spin on the brand’s heritage to create ever-evolving and vibrant offerings. Through this collection, Nigo advances in his efforts to solidify his vision for Kenzo. The brand once again honored its Japanese roots, tapping into playful prints and silhouettes, and melding them with contemporary sensibilities. 

Want to read more about the latest fashion shows? Read about the Dior Spring 2024 Show here.