The Cult of K*NZO
Date(s) - 04/04/2019
7:30 pm - 8:45 pm
49 Tontine St,
The Cult of K*NZO in Folkestone
Why do we want the things that we want? A playful critique of consumer culture through the lens of high fashion
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 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 show is coming to Folkestone Quarterhouse, on 4 April as part of an extensive national tour that opens with a week long London run.
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. Paula Varjack became fascinated by high fashion at an early age through her mother’s magazines.
‘Most of my clothes are carefully selected from eBay or charity shops’, said Paula ‘but a couple of winters ago I got up in the middle of the night so that I could be amongst the first to buy from H&M’s new Kenzo collaboration. I spent as much in 10 minutes as I usually do in a year! What was it about these clothes and this brand that made me act so out of character? I couldn’t work it out and felt compelled to explore it further; to make a show looking at what drives people to want things that are exclusive, that not everyone can have, and the stories we tell by what we wear’.
‘Fashion is an artform everyone is forced to engage with. Whatever we wear expresses something, even if it’s that you don’t want to be seen to show an interest in 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 tours venues around England from February to May 2019, opening at Camden People’s Theatre just before London Fashion Week, with a further London show at Battersea Arts Centre.
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.
www.paulavarjack.com @paulavarjack #cultofkenzo
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. Paula has performed at numerous arts festivals and cultural spaces including: WOW Festival, Glastonbury, Berlin International Literature Festival, The V&A, the Southbank Centre, Círculo de Bellas Artes (Madrid), Musicbox Lisbon and Majorca’s Es Balluard Museum of Contemporary Art.
Event Contact Information
Website Address: www.quarterhouse.co.uk
Contact Telephone Number: 01303 760750