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The Cult of K*nzo by Paula Varjack on Thursday 30th May 2019
In November 2016 Paula Varjack found herself queuing at 4am outside a branch of H&M 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 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 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?
Paula Varjack is an artist working in video and performance. Her work explores identity, community, and making the invisible visible, interested in the gap between what we feel and what we say. Show Me The Money, her previous show, explored the reality of making a living as an artist in the UK. She was recently shortlisted for the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust award that promotes innovation in theatre. Her debut collection of prose and poetry, Letters I Never Sent to You was shortlisted for the Diva Literary Prize for Poetry and the Polari first book prize.
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