Kenzo man as Raymond Carver character

Kings of Kenzo

Cool, Carver and Collected

Welcome to the world of the Raymond Carver dandy. Kenzo’s Californian-educated designers looked north this season for inspiration in a workerist chic collection that would have warmed the heart of Carver, whose gritty stories of the struggling Northwesterners helped make him America’s social realism greatest story teller.

The show space was a faux construction site and industrial references competed on many looks – from spanners and bolts appliqued on hefty blue-collar boots to chimneystacks and redbrick factories that illustrated natty sweaters.

“Coming from the West Coast we often went north, all the way to Washington, so it’s part of our DNA,” explained Humberto Leon, who met joint creative director Carol Lim while at college in UC Berkeley.

The duo also sent out comfy jerkins in modernists’ checks or thick mohair, topped by wide knit collars the better to ward off the winter chill, along with great pastel hued Aran sweaters, ideal for a hike among the Humboldt redwoods.

Nylon bags treated to look like battered lead were among the best of a fine set of totes. Though the show’s piece de resistance was the selection of hyper-thick soled shoes fitted out with contrasting white straps and no end of mini wrench and tool appliques – just the pair Leon wore post show. Carver would have liked those for the struggling characters in his great prose, and indeed would have dug this whole collection.