Kenzo Men’s Leans Into Its Print Legacy for Spring 2025

Who knew Nigo is a whizz at origami? He said he recently constructed a good-sized ball from 12 sheets of paper, and he’s teaching Pharrell Williams’ children the ancient Japanese folding art, starting with simpler forms like cranes.

A cache of nearly fluorescent origami paper, which he discovered at a 300-year-old stationery shop in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district, sparked the color palette for his spring collection for Kenzo, which also reclaimed its links to the jungle via bamboo prints galore and newfangled tiger emblems. (Founder Kenzo Takada started out in fashion in 1970, opening a shop in Paris named Jungle Jap.)

More from WWD

“Kenzo’s essence is prints, but I wanted to find a way of using them that’s less flat,” Nigo said during a preview. Hence all the crinkled and creased fabrics, mesh and striking embroideries, including Eiffel Tower scenes picked out with fluffy threads in the manner of Chinese ink painting, of which Nigo found several examples in the archive.

The open-air show in the garden of Palais Royal served as a fitting backdrop for all the outsized florals, bamboo stalks and leaves. But the designer could afford to tame the prints a bit more, as he did when the palette switched from green to blue, and bamboo motifs felt more approachable on a quilted denim blouson.

He could also add more pep to his staging, and further hone his vision for womenswear, not yet as sharp as it is for menswear. Male models came out first in this coed display, trudging slowly over golden sand to drill music, a subgenre of hip-hop Nigo is rediscovering as he prepares a new album. Despite the gorgeous setting, the show never took flight.

On the plus side, Nigo is easing up on direct references to the archive as he puts his own stamp on the brand. To wit: He tapped his buddy Verdy, the graphic designer, who dreamed up a new Kenzo Paris logo for the fall 2024 collection, to produce a version of the house’s tiger emblem that falls somewhere between graffiti and cartoon.

It appeared as embroidery on the back of varsity jackets, as a busy jacquard for a blouson, and as an adorable plush toy that doubles as a backpack.

Perhaps it’s best to think of Nigo as a connoisseur of clothing, with exacting quality standards and a fastidious approach to details.

The collection included colorful, platform versions of the Japanese thonged sandals known as zori, produced by a renowned workshop in Kyoto that manufactures modern versions, the toe post made of a squishy, rubbery material for comfort and grip.

On the day of the preview, Nigo was wearing a total-denim look with a fascinating back story: One of his first big fashion purchases was an artfully abraded Levi’s jeans jacket he purchased at age 14, lowballing how much he paid by a factor of 10 to avoid a scolding from his mother. (She scolded him anyway.)

Nigo recently had Levi’s reproduce it for him, with jeans to match, and wouldn’t you know the collar juts out like the wingtip of an origami crane.

For more Paris men’s spring 2025 reviews, click here.

Launch Gallery: Kenzo Spring 2025 Men's Collection

Best of WWD