Kenzo designers proud of brand’s modern edge
Designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon are proud of the success they’ve achieved reinventing Kenzo.
The pair were named creative directors of the Paris-based luxury label by Kenzo owner Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) in 2011, and given the huge task of revamping the brand to attract an entirely new generation.
Blending old and new has become a hallmark of the clothing line since Lim and Leon took the reins, as evidenced in their iconic tiger shirt and jungle-inspired ensembles which have been worn by celebrities such as Beyonce, Selena Gomez, Swizz Beatz and Rihanna.
“We were given a platform to reinvent the entire (brand),” Leon told WWD. “Carol and I always use our guts and we’re really storytellers... So each collection has an in-depth story.”
The duo, who have a background in retail and founded multi-brand boutique Opening Ceremony in New York in 2002, have really focused on creating Kenzo’s clothing and are pleased to offer customers options and alternatives. For instance, they no longer sell nested suits and offer separates instead so that people can “make their own” looks.
Leon also said he is pleased Kenzo has expanded internationally, as when he started at the company around 90 per cent of sales came from within France.
“Now it’s a global brand and both genders are equally strong - 50-50 - in ready-to-wear,” he explained, adding that bags, shoes and jewellery have all been updated. “They feel more modern.”
But Lim and Leon are now keen to add further categories to the brand, which currently has more than 200 stores around the world.
Though ready-to-wear is the “heart and soul” of the company, the design stars have set their sights on furniture, home goods, restaurants and hotels in the future.
“It’s a lifestyle brand and we think the sky’s the limit,” Leon said.