Kenzo is always doing something different from the pack, and their Spring 2019 campaign is no exception. The co-ed collection, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week Men's last June, took inspiration from summer rituals, so creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim brought on David LaChapelle to work his magical photography skills within the theme of "Kenzotopia." The result is colorful, surreal, and plenty of fun, providing a convincing argument for skipping winter and heading to a warmer destination immediately.
Shot at LaChapelle's Los Angeles studio, the campaign takes a layered approach to photography in its cultivated paradise. Streetscapes and nature scenes create the backdrop, though it's obvious they are not truly there but instead images along the floor, ceiling, and walls. Models star alongside performers, students, and even Leon's mother Wendy, posing amidst unexpected items like fire hydrants, shovels, and ladders.
"It was the contrast of suburbia, industry versus the natural world, the urban world versus nature, and the common denominator being those humans that occupy those spaces and journeying into the natural world from the manmade," LaChapelle said of the project. "That was the very simple idea."
Leon and Lim, who broke from references to current events in favor of escapism, knew LaChapelle would be the perfect photographer to transport viewers to another world. Both have long been fans of the lensman's artsy, socially aware work, and they felt his aesthetic was promising for their approach of juxtaposing the industrial and the suburban through creative concepts such as repurposing stripper poles as playground equipment and reimagining Botticelli's Primavera.
All of these sources of inspiration make for a bright, movement-filled campaign that provides a hopeful start to 2019. While the images from Maui may provoke some cabin fever, the shoot overall is a reminder of the fun in fashion and the ability for colorful scenes to arise in any setting.