by LUKE LEITCH
Like all good nights spent sweat-drenched by strobe light, there was so much going on at this Kenzo show that recalling all of it afterwards, even as you stumbled euphoric out the door into the glare of morning sunshine, represented a challenge.
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon went back to the 1990s again with a club-life homage of a collection that was fun, fun, fun to watch, especially if you were there back then. Many an editor was chair-jacking to “Keep On Jumpin’ ” and “I’ll House You” as they spun in Todd Terry’s nano-set soundrack: Those hedonists at WWD were able to report attendance at a significant number of the 90-or-so ’90s nights listed on the press notes. Lim and Leon had tracked down the artists and promoters who produced the flyers for many of them, and secured the rights for those naive, early-digital-era, ecstasy-generation illustrations for their prints.
The models emerged in groups, cliques of club kids heading out in tribally-aligned suites of house-jungle-techno-trance–ready attire. There were three lads in monochrome looks of berets, windbreakers, and dancing pants worn atop colored leather rubber-soled loafers. Then three more in blue and lime looks of tracksuits and sweats or short-sleeve printed shirts and jackets layered over long-sleeved logo ringer tees and rib-knits. Print pants were pulled low to the hip to allow views of print boxer shorts pulled high to the navel and worn under tucked-in horizontal-striped ringer tees to act as equator. Eight-stripe zip-up boots complemented similarly striped knits of the sort Paul Smith did a lot of back in the day. There was a raver-esque Moschino-ness in the soap powder–font ‘Brilliant’ hoodies. An eyelet and scallop hemmed and cuffed double-skirted dress in what looked like crunchily treated silk-cotton-nylon indented white on white with the impression of some flyer-sourced ice cream sundae image looked wicked. Lim and Leon kept dropping clique after clique, men after women, in a back-against-the base-bin onrush of looks that challenged the eye to stay in sync but was a rush to try and hold down.
Afterwards, during a chill-out post-show vigil by the models on the scrappily grouted, spray-painted, zig-zag white tile runway, Leon reflected: “It’s interesting, because Carol and I lived through this generation and we wanted this collection to really celebrate nightlife. So I think the way it’s put together is this modern take on this way of dressing. I think there was a freedom in the ’90s, we tried to capture a little bit of that sense of freedom. And the sense of you going out an night with your friends and looking like a pack.”