Paula Varjack presents:
The Cult of K*nzo
York Theatre Royal Studio, 25 April, 7.45pm
In November 2016, Paula Varjack found herself queuing at 4am outside a branch of H&M in East London to be the first in line to buy exclusive designs from Kenzo’s new collaboration with the Swedish fast fashion multinational.
Five hours later she and twenty others were given ten minutes to shop a cordoned-off section of the store. After paying at a till staffed by cheering applauding sales assistants, she emerged carrying the largest shopping bag she had ever carried. What is it about Kenzo?
In a world where you are who you wear, The Cult of K*nzo – at York Theatre Royal Studio on 25 April – is an original, visually spectacular, endearing and accessible examination of consumer culture. It is also a very funny take on class, race, the ways we interact with the world, and the ways in which the world interacts with us. Whether you’re a dedicated fashion aficionado or couldn’t give a damn about designer labels, there’s plenty to enjoy in this show.
The Cult of K*nzo interweaves the stories of one woman’s lifelong desire for luxury and the young Kenzo Takada’s dream of becoming a fashion designer. Kenzo was one of the first men to study at fashion school in Japan and one of the first Japanese designers to come to train and design in the West. Like the “she” of the story, he was deeply drawn to high fashion.
Incorporating storytelling, videography, sound design and choreography, the show looks at how high end designer brands create desire, the tension between inclusion and exclusion, and the mysterious allure of high end. Why do we want the things that we want? What’s in a brand?
The Cult of K*nzo is written and performed by Paula Varjack, directed by Martin Bengtsson and produced by Daisy Dockrill. It was co-commissioned by Camden People’s Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.