Always the fashion pioneers of downtown, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, to hold the first major fashion event at the World Trade Center before the fashion glossies and retail stores have even arrived. The design duo presented their resort collection for Kenzo in the lobby of 4 World Trade Center last night giving Condé Nast and Time Inc. editors a taste of what events in their future hood will look like. So how did they score the venue? “Obviously some of the other spaces are occupied and people have done things, but we asked if anything else had opened and they told us about this space, said Lim. “For some reason, the people who run this space were like, ‘We’ve been approached, but we’ve been waiting to do something. We really want to do something with you guys.’ And so then they gave us the space!” The space was fitting for the collection, which Lim said was her and Leon’s American perspective on French dressing. ” We wanted to do it in a place that felt very New York and we wanted to do it somewhere iconic. And we love the idea that people on the street can come and look in,” said Lim.
Indeed gawkers did look in at the presentation through the big glass windows from the street to peer at the French-inspired dressing done with Leon and Lim’s own subversive take (and presumably at some of the celebs in tow including Dakota Fanning and Chloe Sevigny). There were blown-up Breton stripes that looked almost psychedelic on beachy mini dresses and halter tops or long maxi dresses topped off with a striped coat done in a square pattern instead of horizontal. Sailor pants and skirts with big gold buttons had a Gallic flare, while a mutli-colored pinafore dress worn over a striped shirt was said to take inspiration from old ripped off posters from the Parisian streets. A sporty nylon jacket that came in both black and white had big voluminous sleeves that were meant to resemble old French peasant tops according to Lim. Even the pea coat was reinterpreted using raffia material. “Even though it is French, we took the elements of what we thought were French and then we reinterpreted it to our perspective,” said Lim. Shoes came as legionnaire sandals with gold medallions, there were gold chain mail necklaces, enameled metal cuffs, and hot pink bags emblazoned with “Kenzo”. It was “excess à la française” as the show notes read and it was full of the kind of iconography that always makes Kenzo clothes so recognizable.