Widely acknowledged as the most imaginative visual pioneer of the late 20th century, Jean-Paul Goude has been responsible for some of the most iconic imagery in pop culture to date...
“We’ve always been huge fans of Jean-Paul Goude’s work. Really, when we took on the Kenzo job, we said that Jean-Paul Goude needs to be in the mix. Because to us, he’s such a part of that time period. Jean-Paul Goude and Kenzo were friends and were in the same circle, but they never technically worked together. But Goude was married to Grace Jones and Grace was a muse to Kenzo. When we met him, he was so excited about bringing us to that time period and telling us the history of Kenzo. He was really giving us the background behind the brand and what was happening in Paris at the time and it’s so exciting to have him be a part of this new history. At one point, Kenzo had asked him to do an ad, and due to one thing or another, it didn’t happen. So we decided, “How incredible would it be to make that one thing that was supposed to happen 30 years ago happen?” Jean-Paul looked at our collection and said, “Your collection is about youthfulness and modernity and also something that is so celebratory that was lost in the last 10 years.” So he wanted to celebrate the moment with us. He saw we had introduced this reversible element in the collection and he wanted to do a reversible ad campaign. It’s really exciting putting in the forefront that this is a unisex brand and that this image can work for both men’s and women’s magazines, depending on how you reverse it. Kenzo had a history that we really want to celebrate. For us it’s the ultimate collaboration because we are telling the story in such an interesting way.”
"When we met him, he was so excited about bringing us to that time period and telling us the history of Kenzo"
Widely acknowledged as the most imaginative visual pioneer of the late 20th century, Jean-Paul Goude has been responsible for some of the most iconic imagery in pop culture to date: from an elongated Farida Khelfa embracing a tiny Azzedine Alaïa to transforming his then-wife and muse, Grace Jones into a terrifyingly exotic, androgynous creature. Formerly an art director at Esquire magazine, his multifaceted body of work which includes everything from advertising, video, cinema and drawing was recently celebrated in a retrospective, Goudemalion at the Musee Des Arts Decoratifs. A contemporary of Warhol, he moved in the same circles as Kenzo Takada but this represents his first collaboration with the brand.
Since being appointed as creative directors of Kenzo in 2010, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, co-founders of Opening Ceremony have sought to revitalize the brand, conversely by celebrating its rich, vibrant history and Kenzo’s famous travel wanderlust. That’s meant anything from orchestrating acrobats tumbling from on high, staging a carnival with Jason Schwartzman on drums and Chloe Sevigny closing the show, to sending out models to ride an escalator to the tune of Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five. With Goude’s campaign which superimposes Simon Sabbah and Xiao Wen in a X-shape and the season’s accompanying kinetic video directed by Quentin Jones and styled by AnOther’s fashion editor, Agata Belcen, Lim and Leon are pointing the way forward to a palpably new and exciting place for the house.
Text by Kin Woo