FW ’20’s New Guard

The fresh faces at established labels – from Tod’s and Kenzo to Issey Miyake – are the creative forces to watch.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
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Satoshi Kondo, 36, Issey Miyake

WHO: Kondo is no stranger to the Japanese fashion house. The Ueda College of Fashion graduate first joined its ranks in 2007, working directly with founder Miyake himself as a member of the Pleats Please Issey Miyake design team, and eventually became the brand’s designer.

In 2016, he was announced as the designer of Homme Plisse Issey Miyake, the menswear arm, and was involved in a well-received collaboration with graphic designer Ikko Tanaka. Last September, he took over as creative director from previous head Yoshiyuki Miyamae.

WHY: With his years of experience, Kondo is undoubtedly in-tune with the Issey Miyake DNA, but we love how he went all experimental in his second collection for FW ’20. Titled “Making Speaking, Speaking Making”, it centres on childhood recollections (“the fun and joy of making things with our hands”).

The collection straddles the lines of fashion and art with conjoined pieces and crazy textures. While the Japanese brand is well known for its innovative techniques, Kondo further pushes the envelope by employing decalcomania – a French decorative technique traditionally used in fine art – in the collection’s pattern-making.

The result: A mix of fun designs that retain a distinct Japanese element in the patterns, which were inspired by Japanese onomatopoeic words. For instance, “goshi goshi” refers to the sound and movement of smudging – cue smudge smears of colours on flowy dresses and separates.
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Walter Chiapponi, 42, Tod’s

WHO: The Milan-born Chiapponi was named creative director of both menswear and womenswear at the Italian luxury house in October 2019, right after his stint at Bottega Veneta where he worked under former creative director Tomas Maier. The European Institute of Design graduate debuted in the fashion world in the late ’90s, and cut his teeth at brands such as Givenchy, Valentino, Gucci, and Miu Miu.

WHY: For FW ’20, he brings a fresh approach, particularly to the house’s leather heritage, while sticking to the DNA of “Italian essence”. What this means: a series of wearable and versatile pieces that can be easily imagined off the runways and in your closet. He even manages to make a leather bustier and biker jacket work-appropriate by layering them over a white shirt and knee-length skirt respectively.

He further extends his modern vision by including trendy silhouettes, such as tailored boyfriend blazers and ultra-relaxed trousers, all while staying true to the house’s love for neutral tones like camel and tobacco.
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Felipe Oliveira Baptista, 45, Kenzo

WHO: Baptista took over the creative direction of Kenzo in July 2019 and oversees artistic direction globally. Before this, he spent eight years at Lacoste, where he was widely credited for restoring relevance to the French sportswear company.

Born in Portugal in 1975, the Kingston University fashion design graduate has worked for brands such as Max Mara, Christophe Lemaire, and Cerutti. He also clinched the prestigious Andam Fashion Award in 2005 for the launch of his eponymous label.

WHY: Baptista is known for his on-the-money collaborations, At Lacoste, a 2017 collab with Supreme sold out in minutes. And he doesn’t show signs of stopping.

His debut FW ’20 collection at Kenzo draws from the late Portuguese neo-realist artist Julio Pomar, whose work was heavily inspired by tigers – we love how it puts a refreshing focus on painterly florals instead of the brand’s usual graphic prints.

While the collection retains the brand’s youthful aesthetic, Baptista swept the runways clean of Kenzo’s distinct tiger head motif. Instead, he delved into personal muses, best illustrated by the dramatic opening look: The face-obscuring hood is an ode to his childhood in Azores Islands.