Since 2011, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon have been rethinking how to talk about clothes and the history of the brand to a younger generation. They have the reputation of whispering in the ear of the new generation, the one who swears by his smartphone. However, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the artistic directors of Kenzo , opened a few weeks ago a shop, a real, in the heart of the Marais (120, rue Vieille-du-Temple, Paris IIIe). Is it reasonable? “Of course ! It is still relevant to open physical outlets … but only if you rethink the concept, says Humberto. In our network, it is unique in its kind, conceived both as a modular laboratory hosting projections, exhibitions and product launches, and as the address where to find a selection of parts and archives sold as zero go elsewhere.”
They agree: instead of setting up stores on every street corner, it is better to invent destinations. The two Americans , friends from the university benches in Los Angeles in the 1990s, know what they are talking about, willingly confessing a little addiction. “We are totally addicted to shopping,” Carol Lim smiles. If you had seen us a few minutes earlier, we both had our arms full of packages. You can not go past a shop without going inside. So when we design a store, it must excite us in the first place. “Like Opening Ceremony, the multi-brand they founded in New York in 2001 became a temple of cool, since replicated in Los Angeles and Tokyo .
In the summer of 2011, the news of the appointment of these two “shopkeepers” to the creation of Kenzo had left more than one skeptic. Today, their success is undeniable. Among their feats of arms, the tiger head tiger sweatshirt presented in 2012 and subject since a line of permanent. “Now, everyone goes for their logo hoodie, but at the time, people were wondering what a promotional garment would do on a podium, Humberto amuses. We assume that our work does not end after the parade, that pure creation is nothing without its commercial declension. ”
The duo is very involved in the sale period of their collections, knows the names of professional buyers and their mobile numbers, listen to their remarks carefully. In six years – so to speak an eternity in the contemporary fashion industry – the two best friends have made Kenzo a profitable brand of the LVMH group (which acquired it in 1993).