Yet another collaboration is on the fashion horizon, and this time, it’s Kenzo and Levi‘s teaming up on a Fall 2023 capsule collection. The first-ever partnership under Nigo‘s leadership at Kenzo, this collection seamlessly blends the cultural heritages of the famed Parisian-Japanese fashion house with the iconic American apparel company.
Crafted in close collaboration between Nigo and Levi’s, this denim-focused collection is a testament to the ongoing fusion of historical Japanese dressmaking and classic American workwear, a cornerstone of Kenzo’s Artistic Director. The Kenzo x Levi’s collection boasts twenty garments and accessories, predominantly crafted in premium Japanese Kaihara denim, embodying Nigo’s “real-to-wear” approach to fashion. Nigo, a devoted collector of historical clothing, draws inspiration from Kenzo’s archives, which house a catalog of American denim pieces, including original Levi Strauss & Co. workwear designed for cowboys and miners. This passion for denim and its historical significance mirrors Kenzo Takada‘s vision who, in 1986, introduced the Kenzo Jeans line, celebrating the ease and inclusivity of denim in fashion.
The pieces in this Kenzo x Levi’s collection sport a co-branded design, melding the classic Levi Strauss & Co. ‘two horse pull’ emblem with Kenzo’s iconic logo. The metal Levi’s shanks feature Kenzo’s emblematic Boke flower, and the back pockets showcase the signature Levi’s arcuate stitching. Above the pockets, you’ll find embroidered Kenzo logos, paying homage to the early 20th-century practice of factory workers who used chain-stitched ‘name badges’ on their uniforms. The collection itself features two standout motifs: a ‘Sashiko’ print that replicates the traditional Japanese stitching technique and an archive floral print revived from the Kenzo Jeans line.
The Kenzo x Levi’s collection includes gender-inclusive outerwear and denim shirts, button-down denim dresses, dungarees reminiscent of the original Levi’s archetype, and more. Gender-inclusive Levi’s ‘501’ jeans from the collection include a vintage-washed denim interpretation hand-distressed in Japan and a rinse indigo denim adaptation complete with leather and denim suspenders, paying tribute to the original Levi’s ‘501’ Jeans from 1933.
To capture the essence of the East-meets-West philosophy, the collection campaign was set amidst the picturesque backdrop of Kyoto. Japanese filmmaker Umi Ishihara, known for her captivating blend of documentary and fiction, beautifully filmed the collection, shot in two traditional sansou mountain villas in Kyoto. The campaign also features striking still images lensed by the talented Inner Mongolian photographer Ryu Ika.