June 29, 2013 Paris
"We're really feeling our Americanness," Leon said. It's a quality that's at once specific and ubiquitous, American culture being a global export. It was less that the collection had a specific national character as that it felt more personal and more comfortable for the designers, relative to the stiffness of some of their more theoretical capital-F fashion outings. It wasn't tricky. Pants were wider, cut off or dragging slightly, in Cali surf 'n' skate style, T-shirts in neoprene were worn ragged and unhemmed, like cut-off wetsuits. Yet it had a sporty, streetwise flair. The graphics, always a Kenzo standout, were great here: scratchy hand-drawn waves (shades of Raymond Pettibon) and scribbled lingo ("freakout!") that suited the mood.
It was young, messy, and uncomplicated—if not always the expectation of an LVMH maison, more and more a key component of Kenzo's success. The company's chief talent scout, Pierre-Yves Roussel, was beaming in attendance, and he'd brought along his teenage son, wearing a Kenzo sweatshirt he likely didn't need to be talked into. There've been plenty of other examples on the streets and in the stands this fashion week. That figures. "Almost every Parisian we've met," Leon said, "wants to move to L.A."