Paris: This season, designer Antonio Marras celebrated Kenzo’s 40th year with a collection entitled “A Japanese in Sardina” that combined elements from the past and present, East and West. Although with roots in different cultural spheres, Kenzo Takada and Antonio Marras have similar design sensibilities, as both capture a dreamy nostalgia that speaks of the simplicity of nomadic life and the countryside. The cultural exchange could perhaps be summed up best by the faux patchwork prints that anchored the collection. Hokusai waves, kasuri markings, trompe l’oeil laces, picnic checks and various folkloric motifs came together in the voluminous cocoon-shaped layers that are a hallmark of Japanese design – but peekaboo bralettes, boho trapeze dresses and lush florals (in printed, needlepoint, beaded and appliqué form) had Marras written all over them. Garments were outfitted with shoelace drawstrings that allowed silhouette and volume to be easily adjusted, a clever detail that represented the interplay between the rustic and the modern in this collection. The show closed with a series of elaborate ensembles assembled from the house’s 40-year old archive – pieces from from Takada as well as Marras. Inspired by the towering wearable sculptures of American performance artist Nick Cave, the powerful looks stood as a testament to both designers’ unwavering dedication to their craft, artistic integrity and romantic natures.

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