Kenzo fashion collection. Picture: AP Photo/Thibault Camus
Kenzo fashion collection. Picture: AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Kenzo debuts new designer while Lanvin travels the decades at PFW

By Thomas Adamson Time of article published Feb 27, 2020

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All eyes at Paris Fashion Week on Wednesday were on the debut of Kenzo's new designer, who put guests attending the freezing, winter morning show inside a sweltering greenhouse. 

In his extreme choice of setting, Felipe Oliveira Baptista thus ensured that his collection, one that took the house in a welcome pared-down direction, was literally, and metaphorically, the hottest ticket of the day. Here are some highlights from the ready-to-wear 2020 shows.

Kenzo's hot ticket

There has been much anticipation after Solange Knowles sang the swansong of outgoing Humberto Leon and Carol Lim last year, the design duo whose overly-busy designs had begun to suffer criticism.

Though it was not a triumph, the Portuguese-born Oliveira Baptista — who had previously revived Lacoste — put out a solid and saleable collection of men's and women's designs that successfully pushed the house toward a focused and minimalist mood.

Designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista accepts applause at the conclusion of the Kenzo fashion collection during Women's fashion week Fall/Winter 2020/21. Picture: AP Photo/Thibault Camus

There were flashes of creative flourish: Such as a giant double-breasted tailored coat in vibrant medium blue that hung in a column surreally to the model's ankles. It touched the billowing hem of oversize pants. Elsewhere, headwear cleverly morphed a 1950's-style cloche hat with a Asian warrior headpiece — and provoked the clicking of guests' cameras.

Kenzo fashion collection during Women's fashion week Fall/Winter 2020/21. Picture: AP Photo/Thibault Camus
A model wears a creation for the Kenzo fashion collection. Picture: AP Photo/Thibault Camus

But most of all, this was a commercially-minded collection, and demonstrated perhaps why LVMH selected Oliveira Baptista in the first place to head one of their premier fashion maisons. When Oliveira Baptista became creative director at Lacoste in 2010 he transformed the house over the eight-year stint. LVMH may well have been impressed by the designer's proved skill at transforming a dwindling house into a commercial runway success story.

Lanvin travels the decades 

Lanvin delved into fashion history for an encyclopedic collection.

The world's oldest continually-running couture house will always have roots in the 1920s heydey of its pioneering founder Jeanne Lanvin. And on Wednesday, creative director Bruno Sialelli nicely captured the exuberance of that decade, with its dropped-hem flapper styles and decorative froth.

Bijoux de fantaisie — artisanal costume jewelry — and buttons in the shape of the Lanvin’s signature 1927 fragrance bottle were meticulous in their detail and reinforced the Swinging Twenties vibe.

Lanvin fashion collection. Picture: AP Photo/Francois Mori
Models wear creations for the Lanvin fashion collection during the Women's fashion week Fall/Winter 2020/21. Picture: AP Photo/Francois Mori

Yet, Sialelli only used that as a starting point as he weaved in and out of styles that spanned the 20th century and beyond in a beautiful and well-executed display.

Loose silk gowns and coats were defined by prints inspired by the house's 1949 collaboration on a book featuring watercolors and expressive calligrams. While, the repeated use of checks touched upon one of the big trends of 2020.

Lanvin fashion collection. Picture: AP Photo/Francois Mori
Lanvin fashion collection during the Women's fashion week Fall/Winter 2020/21. Picture: AP Photo/Francois Mori

“In all, a manifesto of Lanvin. Past, present, always,” said the house in its collection notes. For once, the text was exactly right.

AP

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