MiNDFOOD STYLE caught up with H&M’s creative director Ann-Sofie Johansson and KENZO design duo Carol Lim and Humberto Leon to find out everything you need to know about the highly anticipated collaboration that hits stores tomorrow morning.
Tell us about how the collaboration with KENZO came to be.
Ann-Sofie Johansson: We always have many conversations with different brands about the possibility of collaborating. We always make sure that it’s the perfect time for everyone involved, and that each collaboration is something completely different from what we’ve done before. We’re thrilled that Carol and Humberto agreed to make KENZO x H&M our next designer collaboration.
We love to show the different sides of fashion with our designer collaborations, and KENZO is totally unique. They capture a mood for fun and experimentation in fashion, giving people the chance to play with their look and to try new colours, shapes and global influences. I love that they’re so democratic, and believe that fashion should be for everyone. They’re the perfect brand for an H&M collaboration and we can’t wait for our customers to get the chance to wear the clothes for themselves.
For H&M customers unfamiliar with KENZO, what one piece would you tell them to buy?
Humberto Leon: KENZO X H&M is the perfect collection for anyone who’s unfamiliar with KENZO, because it’s like an introduction to both the history and also the present day language of the brand. It’s like a three-dimensional conversation between us and the founder of the brand, Kenzo Takada, bringing together his iconic designs and themes mixed together with our own take on KENZO.
If I had to pick just one piece, I’d say the orange patchwork logo sweatshirt. It has the colour and vibrancy for which he was famous, as well as a frilled mandarin collar that hints of the Parisian flair of his designs. The sweatshirt is something that has become an iconic piece for us at KENZO, so it really is bringing the two worlds together.
What was the highlight of working with H&M?
Carol Lim: We had such a great time researching the collection in the archives of KENZO. It was amazing to see how modern Mr Takada’s designs still look today. He broke all the rules and designed with total freedom, clashing together colours and prints and mixing influences from around the world. He’s such an inspirational designer, and we want everyone to have as much fun experimenting with their look as we had designing it. KENZO x H&M is about mixing it up, trying something new and breaking the rules, just like Kenzo Takada did.
What piece of advice would you give someone who loves the collection and wants to wear it but doesn’t usually wear loud and colourful garments?
Humberto Leon: We love it when people take our designs and mix them in with their own wardrobe. Print and colour looks so great when it’s made part of an outfit. It can be something elegant, like the reversible kimono coat, or something that really pops, like the frilled collar tiger print blouse. Put them together with pieces that you already know and love, and it’s like it’ll give your look new life.
Can you tell us what your three favourite pieces are from the collection?
Ann-Sofie Johansson: I’ve got so many favourite pieces! It’s such a diverse collection, with so many different ideas and ways of dressing. The ribbon dress is such an iconic design, it’s going to be a real collector’s item. It’s amazing how they’ve recreated the dress with their own ribbon designs, capturing that romantic, folkloric feel and projecting it into the future. The sweatshirt is an instant classic, and I love how they’ve added a twist with the mandarin collar and sweet antiqued floral buttons. The double-breasted coat with the pink faux shearling collar makes a real statement.
What was it like working with Carol and Humberto of KENZO?
Ann-Sofie Johansson: We’ve had the best time creating the KENZO x H&M collection with Carol and Humberto. They’re such an inspiring duo, who completely understands what works for their brand and how to push it to create something fresh and exciting. They care about every small detail in the collection, and have such freedom in the way they put everything together. It’s been lots of hard work, but also so much fun, and we hope everyone has as good a time wearing the collection as we have had producing it.
H&M Sylvia Park will be the first store globally to launch the KENZO x H&M Collaboration Collection. Doors open at 9:00am, Thursday 3rd November 2016. Curate your own shopping list for tomorrow here.