KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – House of Kenzo dropped its first high street collaboration with H&M into stores globally on November 3rd, sending fashionistas worldwide into a mad dash to the racks. For the rest of the world, however, life goes on.
The questions The Binge Team are dying to ask about the Kenzo x H&M Collection are, is life truly better with a plush Kenzo bomber in slime-green faux fur? How much confidence does one need to don a pair of multi-coloured tiger print jeans in public? And, is the collection actually a secret tribute to Dr. Seuss?
Our team of writers track down some key pieces from the collection and dissect them from their own perspective for your fashion reading pleasure.
Judy: Colour-blocking is taken too literally in this piece. The tiger print takes it on a technicolour acid trip into a fashion hell that pays homage to…Lego? May work with a very plain top and the funkiest of attitudes, but not without some struggle and a lot of self-confidence.
Carol: Now, here’s something I would never be caught dead in! This looks like a horrible attempt at being fashion forward. Please wear with something plain if you must.
Arpita: I’m not entirely sure why someone would continue wearing a pair of pants that a rainbow threw up on, but that’s just me.
Judy: Garish, full-length jumpsuits are a look that only tradesmen or convicts can get away with. I’ve seen this piece in store and it is even worse in person. The Once-Ler of Dr. Seuss and The Lorax fame instantly comes to mind and may have secretly been the inspiration behind this piece. And, we all know how he ended up. You have been warned.
Carol: A shokoy is a mythical humanoid sea monster Filipinos are scared of. You can be a shokoy next halloween with this.
Arpita: I don’t even understand this. How many drugs were involved in its production?
Judy: While I laud the ethics of a faux fur for this piece, Kenzo, again, haunts us with tiger print overkill on a very bad colour. The furriness of it accents everything that is wrong with the mad print and slime-green colour choice.
Carol: If there is ever a time in my life wherein I would need to blend into some bushes, that will be the only time I would wear such a piece. Plainly excessive.
Arpita: It’s almost like they skinned Oscar the Grouch and turned him into whatever this is meant to be.
Judy: Pile was never going to be easy and it was worth a try in pink and coupled to a classic black leather but the result just looks dated since Grease and The Pink Ladies comes to mind. In the end, it feels like a waste of good, buttery leather. Pass.
Carol: Even Barbie, with her questionable fashion choices through the years, won’t wear this. Black and pink normally look great together but the cut and combination of materials are just not working out.
Arpita: The shade of pink on this is a perfect complement to the Pepto Bismol you’ll need if you’re going to stomach it. I can’t even imagine Cyndi Lauper wearing this, and that’s saying a lot.
Judy: Fashionable pyjamas. Nothing more, nothing less.
Carol: The first wearable thing I’ve seen in this collection are the trousers from this set. Plain top plus heels can make it work. The top? Only for sleeping.
Arpita: As much as I love sitting in pyjamas all day, everyday, I think it would be nice to actually look like you took a shower between rolling out of bed and getting out the door. This is taking “shabby chic” to a completely absurd level.
Judy: Finally, a piece worthy of the Kenzo brand’s cult status. I think this is cropped, and it would be my favourite of the bunch had I a good set of abs and a nice set of shoulders. This can work for day and night. Wear something tight and skinny on the bottom in a monochrome – black/ white/ or possibly camel – to avoid looking too flouncy.
Carol: This one is gorgeous! A focal point for the outfit, it would look great with black bottoms!
Arpita: This is a beautiful piece, and it fuels my belief that Kenzo only make things in the flower motif well. The only true must-have of the collection!
Judy: At best, somewhat Scandinavian-inspired. At worst, clunky Christmas sweater. Mostly, the latter.
Carol: Did someone call for an ugly Christmas sweater? No? Ok.
Arpita: You know, in case you get cold going outside with just the pyjamas above on.
Judy: Best described as the lovechild of a swamp monster and Polly Pocket. Perhaps, impossible to put on without drawing disdain or sending people running off in the opposite direction.
Carol: This garish print is making me nauseous. There’s just so many things going on.
Arpita: Unless this piece comes with LSD in the baggy that extra buttons usually do, this serves no purpose for existing. There is so much wrong with it that I would buy it just to make myself feel better about the rest of my questionable life choices.
Judy: Plain and grandmotherly, this will not turn heads. It also looks out of place in the collection and makes one wonder if Grandma actually did leave her sweater behind in the production line when they were putting this collection together.
Carol: Wearable at best. Definitely won’t be falling in line for this.
Arpita: What’s happening? This should come with a bonnet…and maybe a walker, as well.
Judy: This will turn heads. But for all the wrong reasons. May work for a very cute, baby-faced girl angling for a primal Chav look. For everyone else, good luck.
Carol: Only on a trip to Disneyland.
Arpita: Please make it stop. The very flamboyant zebra that this was inspired by would be scandalised that their compromising pictures went public.
Kenzo X H&M Collection – The Verdict:
Judy: Truly a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes meets the Thneed of Dr. Seuss. Almost every review since the release of this collection waxes lyrical. While the fashion people fawn and gush over the luxury of the Kenzo name, very little is being said about the elephant in the room – namely, that it is a collection that is too loud and too garish to look good in without the right offbeat fashion attitude.
Lots of animal and faux tribal prints in reversible pieces that are guaranteed to clash with everything else in the average closet. One would never need to worry about matching these pieces successfully because it will be nearly impossible to do so without some sacrifice to good taste. There are a few wearable items in this collection and, if you must, cling onto them as you would a life buoy while you struggle into the world of designer fashion via the high street.
Carol: While there are a few wearable pieces, I still don’t see myself lining up or sleeping on the pavement for this collection. Kenzo has always been about vibrant colours and loud prints. Sometimes, they do get it right. However, there is a fine line between loud and tacky – and this time, they definitely crossed that line (for most of the pieces). If you must buy from this collection, please make sure you don’t use them all at once. The Kenzo x H&M lookbook almost blinded me.
Arpita: This collection has me truly baffled. There is no theme other than ‘hideous’ running through the collection, and there is no reason why that should be the case. Between the awkward material pairings, and the utterly confounding prints, it’s almost like this is a social experiment to see just how far a label can get you. I haven’t seen an entire collection this bad in a long time, and the hype and positivity surrounding every article has me questioning my sanity. I’ve waited this long to see if the collection would grow on me, and the only thing growing is my anger at this being a highly sought after pile of trash. Have I gone mad? Is my roommate in this institution drawing these designs on the walls during the course of a manic episode? How do I make it stop? Please make it stop!
Whether you feel that this Kenzo x H&M Collection is creative and avant-garde or outrageous and odious, one thing is for sure – modern fashion is here to remain subjective, conversational and, at times, even divisive. But, as with any artistic medium, that is the beauty of it!
Now that our writers have shared their brickbats and bouquets, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this latest designer/ high street fashion collaboration.
KenzoXH&M – do you love it or hate it? Please tell us why!
Images are all from KenzoXH&M