Opening Ceremony founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon have been named creative directors of the LVMH-owned French brand, Kenzo, WWD reports, with an official announcement expected today.
The personnel choice marks a distinct move towards an ultra-contemporary revamp for the venerable brand, with expansion plans including a return to the U.S. market after an eight-year absence, and plans to capitalize on growth in hot markets like China and Russia.
According to the report, Lim and Leon, who are not formally trained as designers, have on-hand an "exciting" team to bring their vision for Kenzo to life. If what their innovative model for retail is any indication of the pair's capacity for making something cool -- showcasing a rotating roster of curated-by-country designers in an international set of boutiques -- Kenzo seems to be in expert hands for a revamp.
Considering the recent musical chairs of designers in Europe, news that Kenzo would be getting new leadership isn't exactly unexpected, but LVMH's decision to bring on a team that has established itself as masters at retail -- not necessarily design -- is an interesting and note-worthy one, reflective of the industry's tilting towards talent with a skill for merchandising over, quite simply, a talented designer.
Pierre-Yves Roussel, CEO of LVMH's fashion division, explained to WWD where they're hoping to take Kenzo with Lim and Leon at the helm: “They’re really embracing what was the origin of Kenzo -- that Jungle spirit." Roussel went on to say that, on the other hand, “What we need now is something which has more energy, which is looking forward in terms of addressing a new generation.”
Lim and Leon replace Spain-based designer Antonio Marras, and bring what Roussel calls their unparalleled "360-degree vision of the fashion industry" to Kenzo as a contemporary brand along the lines of a Marc by Marc Jacobs, with the goal of growing it to its original, '70s-era scope. At one time, rumors swirled that LVMH was looking to sell Kenzo, but this latest appointment very fortunately seems to shoot down that notion.