Welcome to the jungle. A blast of monkey screech was the first sound you heard on the Kenzo soundtrack; the first sight, a group of parkour acrobats who flipped and rolled from the Maison du Judo's high balcony here, there, and everywhere through the candy-colored space. "The term jungle is hand in hand with the term Kenzo," Humberto Leon explained. The original Kenzo Jungle Jap store, opened in Paris in 1970, is a brand touchstone. Going back into the wild—Leon and his partner, Carol Lim, recently made a trek into the jungles of Thailand and Indonesia—was their way of bringing the brand back to itself.
The result felt more fully realized as an entity unto itself—and as a complement to the women's collection—than the debut show last season. It's no surprise that Leon and Lim, finely calibrated as they are to the new and the next, touched on the fabrics of the season (cotton canvas, silk) as well as its new shapes (boxy bermuda shorts, wider trousers). Leon merely shrugged that you'd need the breathability they offered hacking your way through the jungle. But the jungle is inspiration, not destination. You wouldn't wear the abstracted animal prints the duo debuted (tiger stripe, leopard) to attract a big cat. Big game on the city streets, maybe. Between those pants, those prints, the trendy tailoring, and the signature sweatshirts (embroidered tiger-face front, har-har tiger-tail back), there was enough spirited sportswear to do plenty of attracting, which, in turn, should bring Kenzo back into the conversation, and the Jungle Jap spirit to a new generation. You have to imagine that's just what Kenzo's owners at LVMH were hoping for.