Kenzo explores designer’s roots at Paris Fashion Week

PARIS — Psychedelic Peruvian paintings covered panel upon panel of Kenzo’s fall menswear show that celebrated of one of the designer’s fascinating Chinese-Peruvian heritage.

Here are some highlights of Sunday’s installment of Paris Fashion Week.

KENZO DESIGNER’S ROOTS

The set, painted by artist Pablo Amaringo, evoked scenes inspired by the hallucinogenic Amazonian “ayahuasca” brew — with multicolour space ships, jungle, parrots and deer merging into one — and had some fashion guests squinting amid fluorescent lighting.

Designer Humberto Leon’s family is Tusan, a Peruvian people whose ancestors arrived in Latin America in the 19th century from Guangdong province in China.

The theme provided a rich fashion tapestry in the clothes — from Andean mountaineering styles with woolies, fun hiking boots, utilitarian rucksacks and amassed layering, to ethnic textiles in flashes of bright colour.

Beyond the encyclopedic theme, there were some trendy touches in deconstruction — such as a series of cross jackets with Asian-style cinched waists that sported the inner sleeve lining on the outside.

BENDING THE GENDER RULES

A number of houses have in recent seasons been bending the set rules and showing women’s pre-collections or women’s ready-to-wear during the back-to-back menswear and couture calendar such as Proenza Schouler and Rodarte.

It’s seen to maximize exposure given that the world’s fashion press is in attendance. Other houses have started to combine women’s and men’s collections, like Saint Laurent, in a cost-effective move that reduces the amount of glitzy presentations they are obliged to put on.

Kenzo used the menswear media spotlight Sunday to showcase the women’s fall-winter ready-to-wear as part of the same runway show.

The styles borrowed from some of the menswear themes as they riffed on Andean references, and included wacky additions such as colored feather boas, stoles and hats that gave the female designs a slightly 1920s Parisian twist.

Gender fluidity is a hot theme in the increasingly androgynous styles in Paris. Labels such as Maison Margiela have gone co-ed in recent collections, as designers blur the definition of any boundaries between men’s and women’s clothes to produce genderless designs.

JACQUEMUS DREAMS OF BLUER SKIES

Much-feted womenswear designer Jacquemus returned to male designs Sunday, one year after the young French designer expanded his lines into menswear with a show in southern France.

Simon Porte Jacquemus, 29, found fashion fame for his relaxed, summery women’s styles that harkened to his native city of Marseille on the Mediterranean coast.

Here in Paris, and in menswear, the fall-winter collection captured this nonchalant, sunny vibe in light open white cotton sweaters with an outdoors motif, a loose double breasted yellow suit worn against bare skin and an unseasonably bright colour palette.

An olive tree that made up the set decor glistened in the background, and contrasted with the misty Parisian weather outside.

Broad square pockets and boxy proportions provided one new style idea, but the show was too relaxed for its own good and lacked the creative energy of his women’s designs.

Its most potent effect was to spur on fatigued fashionistas to yearn for bluer skies and warmer temperatures.

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