As the much-awaited collection drops worldwide today, we sit down to chat with Carol Lim and Humberto Leon from the French house Kenzo and Ann-Sofie Johansson of H&M to decode the most talked about collab of the year.
ELLE: How would you describe the look and feel of the collection?
Humberto Leon: KENZO x H&M is like a three way conversation between us and the founder of the brand, Kenzo Takada. It brings together his designs with our own, and is a celebration of print, colour, energy and fun. It’s about experimenting with your look, being playful with fashion and trying something new. We can’t wait for people around the world to take pieces from KENZO x H&M and make it part of their own look, in their own way.
ELLE: What was your approach towards the collaboration – considering some designers recreate iconic pieces from their fashion houses, while others produce a line based on current collections?
Carol Lim: Since we became creative directors of KENZO, we’ve never properly looked at the archives. But there are so many people who only know our take on KENZO, and we thought KENZO x H&M would be the perfect opportunity to tell the story of Mr Takada and his amazing legacy. We wanted to do more than just a retrospective collection, and thought it would be amazing to bring Mr Takada’s world together with our own. KENZO x H&M is something totally unique, with pieces that will never be available anywhere else.
ELLE: What was on your mood-board during the making of the line?
CL: We had such a great time in the archives researching the collection, finding the pieces, prints and colours we wanted to refresh and reinterpret for KENZO x H&M. There are also so many iconic KENZO images, and we had so many images from Mr Takada’s time on our mood board. One in particular was a famous image of tiger-print jersey jumpsuits, which we’ve reinterpreted as tiger print jersey tops and pants. They’re such fun pieces to wear, and really show how Mr Takada’s look is still so relevant today.
ELLE: How did you decide to work with Jean-Paul Goode for the campaign?
CL: Jean-Paul Goude is such a true fashion icon and we are honored to be working with him He has captured the personality and spirit of the collection perfectly.
ELLE: What are your 5 must-haves from the line?
CL: I’ve got so many favourite pieces! It’s such a diverse collection, with so many different ideas and ways of dressing. The ribbon dress is such an iconic design; it’s going to be a real collector’s item. It’s amazing how they’ve recreated the dress with their own ribbon designs. The sweatshirt is an instant classic, and I love how they’ve added a twist with the mandarin collar and sweet antiqued floral buttons. There’s a really flirtatious side to the collection and there’s a real freedom in the clash of prints. Then there are the pieces that will be so much fun to wear, like the double-breasted fake fur coat, the tiger-print jersey top and pants, or the dungaree dress.
ELLE: How did you settle on your ambassadors for this campaign? Chance The Rapper, Iman and Rosario Dawson?
CL: We love to think big at H&M, and be more ambitious than we’ve ever been before. It’s such a pleasure each year to work with some of the most exciting and creative people in the industry. We also love to surprise our customers with our projects. Together with KENZO, we believe that fashion is part of a wider global conversation, one that brings together personalities from fashion, music, arts and activism and people who are making a stand.