Style Files: M.I.A. Debuts Mixtape At Kenzo

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Paris-based fashion house Kenzo got a makeover in 2011 when Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, the founders of Opening Ceremony, joined as Creative Directors. With their fall/winter 2013 collection, which was shown on Sunday, March 3 at Paris Fashion Week, the design duo got a particularly potent kick: a new 8 minute mixtape from M.I.A. that served as the soundtrack to their women’s wear show.

The show took place in La Samaritaine, an art deco Parisian department store that has been closed for over a decade. It set a grand and exotic stage for the India-inspired collection, with Vogue reporting that invitations to the show were shaped like a shopper loyalty card.

The show opened with a pair of gold skinny pants paired with gold open-toed shoes and a Eastern-inspired black wrap coat and was followed by a series of gold looks. Many pieces incorporated the brand’s iconic tiger logo, as Lim & Leon have been want to do, but they also explored the Eastern all-seeing eye.

Both the gold lamé and the Eastern lines, as well as the tigers of Kenzo, are very much in the spirit and style of M.I.A. Known for her Middle- and Eastern aesthetic, association with the Tamil Tigers (a controversial Sri Lankian terrorist group) and  her pinchant for oversized and graffiti embellished outfits, she’s a natural aesthetic fit for the brand.

Leon told that the collection’s inspiration for their women’s wear collection started with ribbons the designers found in the archives, that were used in the 1970s by Kenzo Takada, running down the gold pants in their first look. In the background, M.I.A.’s mix can be heard.

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