’50s-inspired Kenzo Models Take To The Street

PARIS (AP) — Kenzo stopped traffic Friday with a cinematic, 1950s-flavored fall-winter 2010-2011 menswear display that culminated with a traffic jam of vintage Citroen cars.

Designer Antonio Marras looked to legendary French filmmaker Jacques Tati for inspiration, sending out a collection built around the director-cum-actor’s hallmark uniform of grandpa sweaters, high-water trousers and argyle socks in eye-popping hues. Models in chunky cardigans, with smart printed ties, cropped pants and flashy socks ambled through the sprawling boutique where the show was held, some carrying oversized totes and umbrellas.

Highlights of the quirky, charming collection included a smart sportscoat in gray tweed with leopard-printed sleeves and a twinset in geometric moss green knit.

“I love Tati’s freedom, his joy, the way he was always whistling as he walked through the streets,” Italian-born Marras told The Associated Press in a backstage interview. “In his films, we get the idea that he’s looking at everything through a child’s eyes, and that’s what interests me: I want to look at things with his sense of amazement and see the joy in things.”

And because it was Kenzo — a brand known for ending its runway shows with a grand, theatrical bang — the show culminated with the re-creation of a scene from Tati’s 1971 movie “Traffic,” featuring cars jostling round Paris’ Place des Victoires. Guests spilled out of the boutique, and passer-by snapped photos as the models walked in circles around the center of the plaza, a rainbow of long, futuristic Citroen DSs spinning around them, with faux gendarmes in period costume directing traffic.

The scene was one of controlled chaos — full of cacophony and wide-eyed surprise. Jacques Tati would certainly have approved.

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