After eight years at Kenzo, co–creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim are stepping down.
The announcement was made by LVMH in Paris, with the conglomerate confirming that the duo’s Spring 2020 show, scheduled for June 23, will be their last. “After eight incredibly special years at Kenzo, we are passing the torch of that historic brand with great pride,” said Leon and Lim in a release.
“We are thankful to our wonderful Kenzo team and the LVMH group for the opportunity to take forward [founder Kenzo] Takada’s groundbreaking legacy. We are excited to bring so many rich experiences and memories from our time at Kenzo to new frontiers.” The rationale for their departure is the reacquisition of all shares of Opening Ceremony, the store and brand the pair founded in 2002, from Berkshire Partners, which had held a minority stake in the OC business. “With full control of the company we are focused on growing our company even further,” Leon and Lim said.
When Lim and Leon joined Kenzo in 2011, they resurrected the label’s tiger graphics to great commercial success and continued to mine Takada’s archives in a sub-brand called Kenzo La Collection Memento. The pair also collaborated with H&M and introduced biannual film projects directed by the likes of Gregg Araki and Carrie Brownstein. Kenzo’s 2016 fragrance campaign, directed by Spike Jonze and starring Margaret Qualley dancing around a hotel, was a viral sensation that also scored the duo an award at Cannes Lions.
Priced more competitively than LVMH’s other luxury brands, Kenzo has become a mainstay on shop floors—whether it will remain so depends on who steps in as creative director. According to LVMH, Kenzo’s next “creative step” will be announced soon; whether that is a new design lead or a new commercial direction is unclear for now.