It’s a bumper week for Kenzo who are opening a new London store and releasing a new campaign film.
Parisian brand, Kenzo have certainly been busy as of late. As well as opening a new store in London this week (on Bruton Street for all those who need their tiger jumper fix ASAP), they’ve released the new campaign film Here Now shot by famed uber cool underground movie director, Gregg Araki and packed with up-and-coming actors (Avan Jogia, Grace Victoria Cox, Jacob Artist, Jake Weary, Jane Levy and Nicole LaLiberti).
Angsty with raging hormones clearly on show, Here Now doesn’t just work as a zeitgeist film piece, but as a perfect place to showcase all the new wares from Kenzo’s AW15 collection, including colour pop bags, shearling jackets and a pair of red snakeskin Chelsea boots which we didn’t know we needed until we saw the film.
Humberto Leon, Carol Lim and Gregg Araki spoke about their collab ahead of the release:
How did Here Now come together in the first place?
Humberto: We have been huge fans of Gregg since our teens. For us, he’s definitely a director of our generation. We’re interested in instilling culture, whether it is sub-culture or pop culture into all of our projects, especially at KENZO. We reached out to Gregg and we asked him, as fans, would he shoot an original film that would eventually become an ad campaign. It was important to put the idea of a film, with actors and a script, first and foremost. We had met before in Thailand, I guess about four years ago at a film festival. We just reached out, blindly. Thank God Gregg had remembered that we did meet that one time.
Gregg, did seeing the clothes inform how you wrote the film?
Gregg: Oh yeah, the sensibility and aesthetic of this KENZO collection really fit my movies. So it was a natural melding. I think if it had been some other brand it wouldn’t have worked. I’m not enough of a fashion person to know off the top of my head what would be an appropriate label but I think there would be a lot of clothes that wouldn’t fit and I wouldn’t really be able to do something like this because the clothes would be too conservative. But the collection really fit the sensibility of that “Teen Apocalypse” trilogy, that world, and so the KENZO world and the Araki world kind of collided and made perfect sense. That’s why it was so fun to watch the colors and the textures of the clothes and everything just really mesh with the world. It doesn’t feel forced.
Carol and Humberto, why did you particularly want to work with Mr. Araki on this specific collection?
Humberto: When we were telling the story of this collection we were really telling the story of this group of kids that formed their own community – “cult” might not be the right word but their own kind of environment that didn’t include anybody from the outside. So there was this world that we wanted to create and I felt like in all honesty when we were like “we want to make a movie with this” we felt like this would be perfect for Gregg. It just felt like that’s exactly who we had in mind when we were thinking about the collection and the group that these kids were forming.
Gregg, how was it working with Humberto and Carol? Was this a collaboration or did they really let you off to do your own thing?
Gregg: I had a lot of creative freedom. As far as the script goes, it was all my idea. I got to express all of the ideas I wanted to express. I always knew that it was gonna really be that the clothes have to be the important part in it, that style had to be part of the collaboration. I always tell people about the short, it’s like one of my movies if we had like a million dollars in the costume budget! The clothes all look fantastic and they all really fit the characters. So it really was a cool experience.
Humberto: We definitely wanted it to feel like a Gregg movie. The reason we wanted to work with Gregg is because we wanted his hand and vision in the entire thing. When we worked on the outfits, we brought Gregg in and we were like “How do you think about this character?” We purposefully decided to not show outfits the way we showed them on the runway. We wanted them to feel like the characters so we kind of re-shifted our whole process of how we worked and it was super exciting to see. The runway has its own voice and then this is another iteration of the collection.
Can you talk about the big, gross hamburger that opens and closes Here Now? It’s cool how two people are eating it, like the spaghetti sequence in Lady and the Tramp.
Gregg: That’s one of the things about my movies; they’re full of that pop culture symbolism. What does this mean? There are always these things that are full of symbolic meaning. I love to put those things in the movies, but then it’s like everyone has their own interpretation. So I hesitate to say, “Oh it means this” because it means different things for different people. As you said, it has all these cultural resonances like The Lady and the Tramp and all of these other things that I don’t think I consciously thought of. Obviously it’s in my psyche somewhere.
Watch Here Now here.