Heritage seems to be an overriding influence on the minds of many designers, not least Antonio Marras at Kenzo - a house with an enviable archive ripe for plunder. The names dropped in the programme notes said it all: Marisa Berenson, Maria Schneider, Angelica Houston and even Farrah Fawcett. We were on a seventies trip, - it was the heyday of the house and it was smart of Marras to avoid fashion's flirtation with the sixties, and continuing fascination with the eighties, and hone in on the decade where Kenzo really got it right. Cue hippie drippy florals, rose blooms cavorting across voluminous tent dresses in silks and chiffons, swinging ponchos patterned with chintz and acres of mixed patterns in a palette dominated by terracotta and taupe. Marras tossed lightweight jackets over them to keep out the chill, in Madras checks or combinations of subtle checks and stripes pieced together in slim single-breasted blazers. That was the Kenzo flower child, but there were also glances to a more tailored past - when Tina Chow was mentioned in the programme I couldn't help but remember reading her comment on how she had a pair of jodhpur-ish Kenzo trousers 'ripped off' in Hong Kong because the cut was so perfect. They seemed to have been ripped-off by Marras too, in pinstripe wools, occasionally worn under a billowing silk tunic. The tailoring was, by and large, oversized and mannish in a slouchy Annie Hall way, with wide trousers cropped above a platform wedge sandal and chunky tweed suiting worn beneath chunkier, tweedier overcoats. Touches of fur at the hems, and a couple of great coats with front panels or sleeves rendered in ocelot, gave the collection a bit of weight, and even the ever-tricky jumpsuit was deftly handled, a twist to the breast or seamlessly worked into a tailored blazer in chocolate brown. It wasn't preaching to a new crowd by any stretch of the imagination, but it was clever revisionism of a hefty house archive that managed to make the Kenzo look seem fresh and interesting for yet another season.
It wasn't preaching to a new crowd by any stretch of the imagination, but it was clever revisionism of a hefty house archive.