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PFW AW20: Felipe Oliveira Baptista’s debut Kenzo collection

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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There was a lot of anticipation for Felipe Oliveira Baptista’s debut for Kenzo, especially after the designer decided to skip men’s fashion week in favour of Paris women’s fashion week, and the introduction of a new logo that was designed to “write a new chapter in its history”.

Baptista, who succeeded Carol Lim and Humberto Leon as creative director in July 2019, is looking to the fashion house’s founder Kenzo Takada for his debut collection, centring around the journey from Japan to Paris that a young Takada took, combined with his own childhood memories and love of travel, like a dialogue between the current and former creative directors.

In the show notes, Kenzo explained that this journey is “through style, and a continued passageway between two designers. Two personalities blend and their common points shape a wardrobe of convergence. United in culture, their dialogue takes root in Paris, the fantasy capital of fashion. Emotional reference points converse and come together.”

Entitled ‘Going Places’ the autumn/winter 2020 co-ed collection is all about wanderlust and the concept of a “nomadic spirit” who is “sheltered by their clothes” and the idea of a “mobile wardrobe that heralds urban elegance and metamorphosis, transforming itself with fluency” as well as taking inspiration from the cross-cultural heritage of the brand.

This was showcased with an elegant yet practical wardrobe of clothes that the designer said were designed to be “lived in” from reversible coats that went from monochrome to printed, while cocoon dresses expanded with zippers, down jackets looked like they could be transformed into sleeping bags, and then there were protective details like blankets styled under hats and utility belt bags.

Kenzo ushers a new era with debut Felipe Oliveira Baptista collection

There is a fluidity in the collection, from the nature-inspired colours and patterns including a camouflage print that was created from a trompe-l’oeil of roses to the combination of Japanese inspired flat kimono shapes combined with Parisian cuts to create silhouettes that allowed freedom of movement, highlighted by the parkas that “spread out like wings”.

The collection definitely showcased a new era for the brand, this isn’t a fashion brand stuck in the Nineties with colourful sportswear appeal, there wasn’t a tiger sweatshirt to be seen, however, the Kenzo tiger was still featured but in a more elegant way, with flowing capes printed with collages of tiger paintings designed in collaboration with the late Portuguese artist Júlio Pomar.

This is a new approach for Kenzo, one in which that embraces elegant, functional and innovative design geared at widening the appeal of the brand, not just internationally but also opening up the fashion house to more than just targeting young consumers.

Kenzo is stating that is no longer just the fashion house of the youth but for the “wanderers of life”.

The fashion house also highlighted the need for sustainability in catwalk shows, noting that its modular transparent tubular structure, which was constructed on the lawns of the Institut National de Jeunes Sourds, would be re-used in other forms at events in the coming seasons, such as pop-up stores or presentations, and that it was “committed to recycling the set” by transforming it into new objects.

Images: courtesy of Kenzo

Felipe Oliveira Baptista
Paris Fashion Week