For spring/summer 2024, Nigo further refined his distinctive Kenzo aesthetic—and celebrated his creative soulmate Pharrell. Anders Christian Madsen reviews the highlights from the collection, presented on the Passerelle Debilly footbridge.
The show took place on a bridge
The June 2023 men’s shows will forever be remembered as the season of the bridge: when designers transformed the ponts of Paris into runways. It’s thanks to two dear friends whose indelible marks on fashion have contributed hugely to the way we’ve been dressing over the last two decades. On Friday evening, Nigo presented his fourth Kenzo collection on the Passerelle Debilly footbridge, echoing his creative soulmate Pharrell Williams, who staged his debut show for Louis Vuitton on the Pont Neuf three days before. Both friends attended each other’s shows, and when Nigo took his bow, Williams got a hug and a nod on the way.
It cemented the Nigo-Pharrell constellation
Nigo and Williams’s choices of locations obviously weren’t a coincidence. Both designers were born out of the hip-hop community and cut their teeth in places far from the fashion establishment of Paris. Through the years, they served as each other’s mentors and apprentices on many levels. Their practices are testament to how much they learned from one another. Where Williams’s bridge analogized a connection between Paris and his home state of Virginia, Nigo’s bridge linked Japan to Paris, quite literally: the Passerelle Debilly connects Palais de Tokyo with the Eiffel Tower across the Seine.
The show refined Nigo’s codes at Kenzo
Four seasons into his tenure at Kenzo, Nigo is consolidating and refining the codes he’s brought to the house. Highly reverent of its founder, many of them are based on the work of Kenzo Takada but injected with a functionality and workwear-ship that’s inimitably Nigo. This season, he finessed his aesthetic—a fusion of Japanese construction and sportswear, Parisian spirit, British tailoring, and the American utility wardrobe—in a more clarified, precise and above all elegant expression, which served as a reminder of the influence Nigo has had on the likes of Williams and the generations he inspired through his music and the visual impact that came with it.
It was injected with City Pop
The collection was layered with overtones of City Pop, the easy-listening music genre that reigned supreme on the radio stations of Japan from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. Those were Nigo’s formative teenage years. Now, he said before the show, he is seeing a resurgence of interest in the genre around the world. It’s brought back memories of the preppy and graphic look that was loosely associated with the scene, and the realization of how connected the designs of Kenzo Takado were to these expressions. Set to a soundtrack by Cornelius—a contemporary and friend of Nigo’s—the collection tied together all these elements in a new City Pop wardrobe.
It featured a collaboration with Verdy
The show debuted a new logo designed by Verdy, the Japanese graphic designer (and creative director of Blackpink) whose trademark swashed typeface has appeared in a wealth of cool collaborations as well as his own brands, Wasted Youth and Girls Don’t Cry. Created in the same font, the logo was emblazoned all over garments and accessories, cementing Nigo’s knack for branding. But it was the womenswear that made the biggest impression in the show: hyper-elegant but with a focus on ease, it was defined by a longline, fluid silhouette that brought a new sophistication to Nigo’s women’s proposition at Takada’s old house.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.