Dries Van NoKenzoten RTW Spring 2024
Pharrell Williams came to tonight’s show wearing a full Kenzo outfit by his close friend and frequent partner Nigo. He paired the outfit with a yellow duffle bag from his own debut collection, which was hot off the oven and the runway. It all came full circle. Those who know the history will know that Nigo helped Williams make one of his first official steps into fashion when they started Billionaire Boys Club together in 2003.
Still, Nigo has a clear talent for working with others, but until tonight, he had only worked with the house’s founder—well, with his archive—during his time at Kenzo. Nigo said that, contrary to what most people think, he is “quite against collaborations in fashion.” He said that after taking the top job at Kenzo, he wanted to avoid a scandal right away so that he could prove his leadership. But it’s hard not to give in to expectations, so tonight his spring 2024 lines for men and women featured the work of his close friend Verdy, a Japanese graphic artist who was just named Blackpink’s new artistic director.
The time was right to play that card. Nigo wants to leave a strong mark on Kenzo, and judging by the number of celebrities at this show and the fact that it was held at the Passerelle Debilly at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, this was the best way to do it. Plus, now that he has been in charge of Kenzo for a while, he has the room to do that.
Nigo has recently been interested in the fact that city pop, a Japanese pop music trend that started in the 1970s and reached its peak in the 1980s, has recently gained mainstream popularity around the world. Nigo’s work skillfully handles this strain between what is truly Japanese and how it has been reinterpreted by the West. This was shown in this collection when he brought back clothes from when he first heard the song and put them in the context of a global brand.
In fact, Nigo went through his own library and the Kenzo archive from the time when city pop first came out and looked at how the same items and styles have been reinterpreted since. This came across best in his tailoring, which is still his best work at Kenzo. He mixed elements of Japanese tailoring with details and proportions from the time. The best pieces were a pair of dress shorts with wide pleats that looked like a hakama and a double-breasted pinstriped jacket that looked like a kimono.
Verdy provided a new version of the “Kenzo Paris” logo, which was put on the back of jackets and used in a clever way as a binding tape on some tailoring. A rose print from the Kenzo library was reworked and put on pastel summer fabrics to add a light touch to the rest of the collection. Denim is still Nigo’s strong suit, as is his cool, casual, but still on-purpose clothing. Still, even though this collection for women had a better point of view—with sexy semi-sheer knits and short shifts—the direction still doesn’t seem clear.
It’s hard not to see similarities between Nigo’s show tonight and Williams’ earlier this week. The bridge might just be an accident, but the size is not. We’ve entered a new era of fashion as entertainment, where editors and writers pay as much attention to the famous people in attendance as they do to the clothes. But despite all the noise, Nigo still does nothing but his own thing. To his credit, none of the many online trends that are popular on the models this season (like “quiet luxury”) were on his runway. Nigo has been in the show for four seasons, and based on this episode, he’s all warmed up.
This Dries show was in the nice 17th, on a high floor of a building that had been condemned for a long time but was still used by Orange until recently. The room was long and had a vaulted ceiling. There were layers of plaster, concrete, and paint on every damaged and chipped surface. This was the industrial patina, the pattern of use, and the signs of living. The coats in looks 23 and 52, which were both worn and paired with sequin shorts, looked like they had been used for years because they were dyed and treated to make them look like they had been in the sun a lot. The inside of their long peak collars were darker than the outside.
“We wanted it to be a study in style. To make it a lot like a man. So we asked, “What does being a man mean now?” How can we make grace also seem young and interesting to young people?”I think streetwear is great, but I also think people want more ways to dress to show who they are and to have fun.”
A beautiful belted raglan shoulder coat made of herringbone wool had zigzags of camel and black, which set the tone for the first part of this collection. It was made with help from the Soulwax music. A slow start with an orchestra led to sweet beats that kept coming back over and over again. Modern twinsets were made up of gabardine pants with trench coat skirts on the front and deep-v knits with similar wrapped skirts on the back. Textures like slubby shantung silks, net linen knits, coated linen outerwear, knit velvets, and subdued prints that make you feel like you’re being wrapped up were used.
Van Noten has an unmatched sense of color that is never typical. Mixing a bronze shirt and coat with gold sequin shorts or aubergine shorts with a mustard bomber was both unusual and obviously good. The wavy stitching on these aubergine-dyed shorts and an inner jacket reminded me of the “onion” print that overlapped on other pieces. Some of the mousseline tops were see-through, some of the shoes had fur straps, some of the shorts and combat pants had frayed and raw hems, and the knit velvet sweater had a grid of ripped holes across the chest. This was a mix of patina, use, and shape. This was a group of things that begged to be moved into.