The appointment of Carole Lim and Humberto Leon – the California duo behind Opening Ceremony, but who had no formal design training – as Creative Directors at Kenzo in 2011 was met with cautious celebration. Any doubts would soon prove to be unfounded, however, as the brand, which had gone quiet since founder Kenzo Takada's retirement in 1999, returned to the scene within just two seasons, largely in thanks to the Tiger motif.
Discovered in the Kenzo archives by Lim and Leon, the Tiger had originally been used as a running motif on jackets and wristbands. The motif subsequently found itself XLed on a knitted sweater as part of the Autumn/Winter 2012 womenswear collection – as modelled by Karlie Kloss – and then on a sweatshirt worn by Leon as he took his finale bow, proving it wasn't just for the girls. Its appearance in the following season's advertising campaign cemented the Tiger as the one-to-wear, with Kenzo stores unable to keep up with the demand.
Seen as a definition of the new era at Kenzo, a brand synonymous with cool, luxe clothing that nods to the heritage of the brand while riffing off of a streetwear edge, the only thing to decide on when it comes to the Tiger is whether to get it as a T-shirt or sweatshirt, and in which colour.