Since time immemorial—effectively, immemorial-ish, which means because the daybreak of blockbuster vogue reveals within the 2000s—the measure of the excitement of a designer’s debut season has been the caliber of the entrance row company. Is it jammed with the celebrities of the second, together with a star with a success music or TV present wearing a glance by the designer? Are the music world’s vogue weathervanes, like Gunna or the Migos, in attendance?
The entrance row at Nigo’s debut present for Kenzo, which befell in Paris on Sunday, was principally a menswear Mount Rushmore. There was Pharrell, Julia Fox (wrapped in a Kenzo fleece blanket scarf), Ye, Tyler, the Creator, and Pusha T. And in the midst of this fivesome was Nigo himself: founding father of A Bathing Ape, latest Virgil Abloh collaborator, all-around streetwear legend, and now the designer of Kenzo. Nigo was not solely asserting himself as a star in his personal proper—Bape, in fact, was one of many first pillars of the hypebeast motion. He was additionally simply hanging out together with his mates.
This was much less about star energy and extra about an natural connection to deep-cut menswear. You possibly can pay anybody to point out as much as a vogue present, actually (and it’s constructed into the contracts of most celeb spokespeople). However these are Nigo’s longtime mates, and his equals when it comes to affect on vogue and avenue type over the previous decade or extra. That lineup of six appeared to counsel that every of those figures is lastly getting their due as type trailblazers. You actually can hint the prep revival in its present state to Tyler, the Creator; Ye is sort of like a north star for a sort of mass-but-sophisticated style, pointing us first to Marc Jacobs’s work at Louis Vuitton (which Abloh later Franksteined into one thing elegant); then to Phoebe Philo, and now to Demna. And Pharrell is just like the godfather of all of it.
However what in regards to the garments this lineup of fashion champions was handled to? Essentially the most intriguing factor in regards to the assortment was how easy it was: good knits, good overcoats, shearling jackets, colourful fits, baker boy caps and berets, and workwear. The wildest issues bought, design-wise, was a pair of plus fours and matching go well with jacket below a plaid apron high. (A golf outfit for Tyler, maybe?) There have been fairly and cheery prints designed by home founder Kenzo Takada, which Nigo dug out from the archives. The materials had been easy: denim, cotton, wool.
In the event you’re shocked, maybe that was Nigo’s intention. As a lot as folks speak about streetwear’s takeover of luxurious and vogue, it’s fairly clear that the streetwear we see at massive vogue homes is not the stuff that the motion’s pioneers supposed. As Nigo instructed Vogue’s Steff Yotka in an interview earlier than the present, streetwear is fairly misunderstood. Originals usually say this type of factor—and Nigo is from a era for whom authenticity and origins actually matter. However Nigo is extra within the sector’s anti-establishment previous. “From my perspective, streetwear began out as a rise up in opposition to correct vogue or luxurious. It was truly counterculture, like an underground motion,” he stated. “I feel folks have forgotten that as a result of it’s simply develop into so ubiquitous that it’s the norm now, and streetwear, no less than to the world of correct vogue, seems to be like non-design.” There’s a way that streetwear is graphic hoodies and collaborations, and Nigo wished to push in opposition to that concept: “I need the message to be fairly merely a give attention to the garments,” he instructed Vogue.
The opposite factor about Nigo-grade streetwear is that it sees private type as the last word flex, as interpretation. It’s on the wearer to combine kinds and codes and create one thing unique, as Nigo (and Pharrell, and Tyler, and Ye) have so usually accomplished. This can be a fairly radical message for at this time, particularly from a designer at a model below the behemoth umbrella of LVMH. The previous decade has fostered an obsession with embodying a designer’s imaginative and prescient—with carrying one thing straight off the runway, or recreating a runway look. “Grail” has come to check with a garment’s pervasiveness or reputation on social media, as a substitute of indicating rareness or particularly good or uncommon design. Nigo appears poised to show the highlight again to the wearer. Nigo’s Kenzo is making nice garments—however extra importantly, it’s letting his fandom put their very own freaky spin on them.