Honorary Award IV Edition

Kenzo has brazenly taken risks and embraced new trends before they came trends since its beginnings.

The brand’s Japanese founder Kenzo Takada was one of the first men at the formerly all-female Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo. Thereafter he made the brave decision to move to the fashion capital of the world, Paris. Young Kenzo urged his way onto the fashion scene, offering fresh fashion illustrations for haute couture brands. Later he led the way at his own namesake brand by fearlessly accepting the ready-to-wear manufacturing model, creating perfumes for the brand before it was an expected norm and singing a deal with The Limited for the one of the first designer/mass-market collaboration. Kenzo Takada took a big risk doing so (many high end stores stopped selling his clothes as a result of this collaboration). However, his vision paved the way for what is now considered commonplace in the fashion world (like the annual collaborations of H&M and top designers).

“In 1979, I was young and wanted to do something quite provocative and strong,” said Takada.

Kenzo’s open mind and passion for creating joyous fun creations also paved the way for the brand’s current creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. Just as Takada embraced the new trends before they were established as “trends,” Lim and Leon have embraced the new genre of fashion film.

Lim and Leon dove head first into the fashion film pool when they started with Kenzo in 2011. As Carol has said, “Technology has made everything so instant, and we’re rolling with the punches!” The young duo fearlessly devoted themselves to the new unknown genre seasonally offering original fashion film with every collection.

As Humberto once told The New Yorker, “We don’t shoot a normal ad campaign. We do a movie, and then we shoot a movie poster, and then the ads are the posters, and they feature clothing.” Cinema has been one of the most influential inspirations for the designers. Not only do they support the new film genre but they enlist emerging directors like Sean Baker, Gregg Araki, Carrie Brownstein, Khalil Joseph and Natasha Lyonne.

In a tribute to the Honorary Award recipient, Kenzo, we had the pleasure of curating a special selection of their fashion films that reflect that brand’s roots and the freedom the current creative directors give to the film directors and the various concepts these directors create for the brand reflecting the free and fun spirit ingrained in the brand by its founder.