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Kenzo Honours Japanese Heritage Using Asian-Only Models In SS18 Show

There were 83 models in total.

27/06/2017 10:23

In an industry often criticised for its lack of diversity, all eyes were on fashion week to see which models the designers selected to send down the catwalk.

And this year Kenzo did not disappoint, as they chose 83 exclusively-Asian models for their SS18 show.   

Not only is it a two fingers up to casting directors who try to argue total representation is unachievable, but also a nod to the brand’s Japanese heritage.

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Humberto Leon, one of Kenzo’s creative directors (along with Carol Lim), told Dazed magazine: “We felt like it would be really beautiful and poetic to cast a full Asian cast and celebrate the heritage of the brand.”

Founded by Japanese designer Kenzo Takada back in the 1970s, Kenzo is now known globally as a luxury French fashion house.

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Ending the last night of Paris Fashion Week, the show called ‘The Red String Of Fate’ brought together men and women’s collections on one platform, presenting the clothes as a two-part play.

The first segment - ‘Building The Bamboo Houses’ - was a reference to musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, known for directing films such as ‘The Last Emperor’.

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The second segment was a homage to Kenzo’s muse (and model) Sayoko Yamaguchi, aptly titled ‘Love Letter to Sayoko’.

Some of the models who walked the show included Fernanda Ly, Manami Kinoshita and Mae Lapres.

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The move to have a 100% Asian model casting is in stark contrast to the industry as a whole, where diversity still has a long way to go. 

As reported by HuffPost UK, the annual diversity report, released at the end of each year, reported that in 2016 there were 679 model appearances across 48 top international fashion publications, and only 29% of these were women of colour. 

This figure has jumped up from 22.8% in 2015, and a measly 17.4% in 2014.

These statistics are a good sign that the industry is moving in the right direction, but are still not enough. To put it context, 482 white models appeared on the covers, while only 197 non-white models racked up bookings. 

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