Creative Directors of French fashion house Kenzo, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, first met at the prestigious University of California, Berkeley. It was this chance encounter, that gave fashion one of its great partnerships.
Opening their first boutique, Opening Ceremony in downtown New York in 2002, they soon had other Opening Ceremony outlets worldwide, including Los Angeles and Tokyo. However, they are perhaps best known for their most recent venture, having been named as creative directors of the leading French fashion house, Kenzo, in 2011.
Kenzo was started in 1970 by Kenzo Takada, and began with a boutique at the Galerie Vivienne where he sold his first designs, a collection of handmade women’s clothing. In 1976 it expanded into a full French fashion house, with its flagship store opening at 3 Place des Victoires. A veritable powerhouse of French fashion in the seventies, eighties and nineties, after the retirement of its founder Takada in 1999, it slowly began to lose its place on the world fashion map. It was for this reason that the dynamic partnership of Carol Lim and Humberto Leon were asked to reinvigorate the brand.
Their appointment was a shrewd one. Lim and Leon have built upon the styles that Kenzo was originally founded upon, a classical mix of high French fashion and Japanese street-chic with an infusion of global ethnicity, and produced collections that also retain the label’s block colours and sense of playfulness. “We think people want to play with the clothing” said Leon. “We think the brand deserves to be fun”.
The result has seen Kenzo reinvigorated, and regain its place on the world fashion map as a dynamic, inventive and forward-looking label, and under the creative directorships of Lim and Leon, this looks set to be the case for a long time to come.