Humberto Leon and Carol Lim took the plunge. After striking gold a season or two into their tenure at Kenzo, having exploded the brand into mainstream street-wear fodder with an urban jungle uniform of warm colors and stitched tiger frontispiece jumpers, the duo behind Opening Ceremony and now Kenzo Takada’s legendary line took their roles as the guests of honor at Pitti Uomo, the Florentine grand banquet that signals the start of a new menswear season in Italy, quite seriously. They certainly had to come up with something special, something different, this time around. Leon and Lim were in recent danger of Dolce & Gabbana-ing their brand, tiring out the same old tropes through different scopes or prisms, but they went sober just in the nick of time.
The grown-up sensibility that cloaked the entire show was surprising, and all the more exciting for it. Who doesn’t like to be witness to the next big step in a new, flourishing line’s ascent? Gone were the bread and butter jumpers snapped so favorably by the likes of Tommy Ton and his aficionados; in its festive place was an army of cloud print outerwear garments, like a stellar flight suit covered head to toe in the stuff. In Florence, whimsy made way for a palpable male puissance. This season’s Varsity jacket, the only one on offer here, nicely melds both sides of the Kenzo customer. It will bring fans into Leon and Lim’s Opening Ceremony boutiques, where they carry their beloved Kenzo, in droves.
Men will respond favorably to the cloud print, used here like an army fatigue motif, and they’re likely to gravitate toward those garments ballasted by the graphic panels of black, like the printed dinner shirt skewed diagonally by a black zig-zagging patch at the bottom, or a killer pair of ice blue sky tapered trousers with thick racing stripe panels on the sides. When Leon and Lim dispatched an entire parka in that frosty blue print, they almost lost us. It was a literal abyss of sky, a void on the runway. Same goes for an entire suit imbued in blue and ox-blood red clouds. That one shouldn’t have made the cut either.
Saturation became a problem at times throughout the procession, but there were unmistakable gems, like look # 4; a sober, single-breasted coat with a cowl neckline, shot through in the chilliest frost blue. That density and vastness was infinitely more inviting. The term ‘abyss’ wouldn’t suit that look whatsoever.