Kenzo know how to do collaborations; from Gregg Araki to Spike Jones through Sean Baker, creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim have recruited some of the biggest names to helm their campaigns.
For the brand’s latest chapter, the design duo have tapped Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O and director Ana Lily Amirpour for a special multimedia project promoting their SS18 collection.
Titled Yo! My Saint, the campaign features an original five-minute track written and composed by Karen O, featuring guest vocals from Michael Kiwanuka. The song will be released on 12th January across streaming services, while a limited-edition vinyl will be available on 22nd January in Kenzo stores and online.
“When I thought of the muses for Humberto and Carol being this Japanese artist and model, it just sparked this other side of my imagination, which is the Asian melodrama that’s within me” explains Karen. “For the music, I immediately wanted to do melodramatic and romantic and with lots of yearning and high stakes – all that good stuff that’s in any Korean soap opera. It just started owing through me. Also, I wanted there to be something authentically romantic about it in some kind of slightly unconventional way. That’s where my head went with it.”
The track is accompanied by a short film directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) and starring a cast of all Asian descent including actor Jessica Henwick, musician Alex Zhang Hungtai – from Dirty Beaches/Trouble/Love Theme – and model Kiko Mizuhara. The film moves from a photo shoot reminiscent of 60s classic Blow-Up, to a neon-lit karaoke bar, as Alex Zhang Hungtai croons along to Karen O’s track.
Riffing on the theme of muses – “honoring, celebrating, and re-imagining the instigators and inspirations of creativity” – the project stemmed from Kenzo’s SS18 collection, which in turn was inspired by model Sayoko Yamaguchi and music icon Ryuichi Sakamoto. “We talked about Sayoko being the historic muse, and Ryuichi, who we love and are obsessed with, being our modern muse,” says Humberto.