News & Runway

Kenzo’s Spring 2018 Show Featured 100 Percent Asian Models (and Gravity-Defying Stunts)

Models backstage at Kenzo's Spring 2018 presentation; Image: Imaxtree

Models backstage at Kenzo’s Spring 2018 presentation; Image: Imaxtree

Since joining Kenzo in 2011, creative duo Humberto Leon and Carol Lim have repeatedly proven that the runway can also be a stage — both for spectacle and awareness. For Spring 2018, the designers kept up the tradition. Leon and Lim divided their combined menswear and womenswear show into a play (“The Red String of Fate”) with two acts, one heck of an intermission — and an all-Asian cast.

Report: Fall 2017 Was a Banner Season for Runway Diversity, Especially in New York ]

Act one, titled “Building the Bamboo Houses,” paid homage to Ryuichi Sakamoto, a contemporary musician who helped score films like The Last Emperor. Male models walked the runway in dapper suits and 50s-style baseball trousers. Some wore prints created by Sakamoto himself.

Act two, “Love Letter to Sayoko,” was, as its name implies, dedicated to Japanese supermodel Sayoko Yamaguchi, muse to founder Kenzo Takada. (Yamaguchi passed away in 2007.) The vibe was decidedly sporty. Female models walked the runway in frilly bike shorts, soccer jerseys overlaid with sheer ruffled dresses, retro sunglasses and vertical-striped knee-high socks.

During the intermission, Egyptian-Iranian singer Lafawndah serenaded the crowd as a group of aerial dancers flitted up and down the walls of the school building bordering the courtyard-turned-runway. (Their dance was meant to portray an imagined meeting of Yamaguchi and Sakamoto.) “We found this beautiful building and we loved how enclosed it was and we felt like it would be a shame not to use the vertical-ness of the space,” Leon told Dazed.

Of his and Lim’s “very directional” casting choice, the longtime diversity champ said, “We felt like it would be really beautiful and poetic to cast a full Asian cast and celebrate the heritage of the brand.” Among the Japanese, Chinese and Korean beauties who walked were Mae LapresManami Kinoshita and Fernanda Ly.

Take in the full, diversity-celebrating runway show in the slideshow below.

[ via Dazed ]