KENZO unveils its “Varsity Jungle” collection in Singapore

The new collection sees Kenzo Takada’s favorite animals as the brand’s new icons, presented under the watchful eye of newly-minted creative director Nigo

Bold, playful and youth-centric: these are perhaps the best characteristics to describe KENZO’s spring/summer 2023 collection. It’s the first summer collection presented by Japanese designer Nigo after he was appointed as creative director in September 2021. With him at the helm, KENZO has become more fearless following Nigo’s unique East-meets-West vision. Essentially, Nigo is sticking to his roots while introducing an optimism highlighting the brand’s core DNA. 

The pop-up installation that paid tribute to Kenzo Takada’s favorite animal.

For this season, Nigo played with archival inspiration as he brought the elephant alongside the tiger to front of the brand’s identity. The elephant, by the way, is the private animal of Kenzo Takada, the brand’s famous founder. Takada famously turned his show in 1978n into a circus-like fantasy world and personally rode an elephant to thank the audience. This season, Nigo combined this graphic element with 1950s sailor tattoo imagery to freshen the idea. This is where all the nautical-inspired looks originally came from. 

The unveiling of this spring/summer 2023 collection also afforded KENZO the opportunity to further strengthen its position in the markets of Asia. To that end, the brand invited friends and VIPs from across the region to witness the collection’s debut. The collection itself, dubbed “Varsity Jungle,” was wrapped in larger-than-life installations and exhilarating performances that embodied the bold and playful spirit of KENZO. Taking place at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore, the celebration was more than just a fashion statement as it was filled with music and colorful industrial elements. 

Amid the visual plethora of graphics, LEDs and the tunes of DJ PRAV enhanced by a play on lights expressed the brand’s futuristic vision of vitality and self-expression in a true collegiate spirit. The lively performance illuminated the world-class institute and reflected Nigo’s vision to bring youthful sensibilities and support towards creative communities in urban subcultures. In a love letter to his early beginnings as a rapper before his successful foray into fashion, hip-hop tunes and rap music from the DJ booth brought the uncompromising KENZO spirit of positivity and freedom to life as guests enjoyed the untamed energy of the event. 

Nazla Alifa (first from left), Ayla Dimitri and Anaz Siantar (second and third from right) among guests at the launch event

The evening became even more powerful as Asian celebrities, singers and fashion enthusiasts gathered together to celebrate Nigo’s creative vision. In attendance were Keung To of Hong Kong boy band MIRROR, Thai actor/singer Off (Jumpol Adulkittiporn), actor, singer and TV Host Austin Lin from Taiwan, multi-talented singer Glenn Yong, Singapore’s fashion darling Yoyo Cao and many more. From Indonesia, Ayla Dimitri, Anaz Siantar and Nazla Alifa were also seen among the guests.

It was, for sure, a night to remember; and certainly a fitting launch for such an energetic collection.