The Kenzo show this season was about celebration - it was the label's fortieth anniversary, thus it took over the Cirque d'Hiver for an appropriately big-top S/S 2011 presentation.
By and large, however, it was business as usual. Antonio Marras' clothes for next season were very much in the classic Kenzo mould - simple, uncomplicated exercises in chinoiseries, wrapped and draped about the figure in delicate fabrics and largely pastel colours. Underscoring that Japanese feel were towering platforms, but these were flat on a built-up sole like Geta sandals, rather than the 200mm heels of other catwalks. The oriental details and prints are, of course, an old, old house speciality, but they felt as if they had special resonance in a season where other designers seem to be staring east to find inspiration, and were executed with a deft hand.
Ultimately, however, this show wasn't about Kenzo future, or even Kenzo present, but about a celebration of Kenzo's past. As if to illustrate that point, the final half of the show was taken up with a mind-boggling installation of forty outfits, spinning on a disc in the centre of the round arena. Each ensemble was conjured up from archival house pieces, plucked with mapgie enthusiasm from different collections and piled onto models in a mishmash of shape, colour, pattern and ethnicities. Those outfits each represented a year of the Kenzo label, and as an installation - and no doubt source of inspiration not just to Marras but to designers worldwide - that heritage was spectacular to see.