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Vans x Kenzo Spring 2013 Footwear Collection — An excursion through an Asian jungle

While traveling through Thailand, Kenzo creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim found inspiration from the lush vegetation and exotic animals in the jungles and parks they visited. After all, Thailand encompasses numerous breathtaking forests including: Khao Yai, arguably the most popular destination among adventure-seeking tourists; Kaeng Krachan, the country’s largest national park and home to over 350 species of fauna;  the stunning Khao Sok National Park, which encompasses the world’s oldest  evergreen rainforest, along with limestone mountains, a network of caves, and placid lakes, so that visitors can marvel at the fig trees, bamboo stalks, coconut palm trees, rafflesia flowers, carnivorous tropical pitcher plants, and banana trees, along with the forest’s wild fauna, which includes elephants, tigers, leopards, tapirs, pythons and cobras, gibbons, hornbills, woodpeckers, tree frogs, and langurs. While taking in the vibrant colors of these virtually untouched lands, Lim and Leon encountered a number of wild animals but were most stunned by the beauty of the clouded leopard, a near-extinct wild cat species found mainly in  Southeast Asia. Rather than the spots we associate with traditional leopards, these felids’ fur features elongated blotches bordered in black that are somewhat reminiscent of the pattern commonly found on Burmese pythons. For its fourth  collection with iconic skater-approved footwear brand Vans, then, the Kenzo team chose to continue the theme that guided much of the aesthetic of their March 2013 collection, with the clouded leopard’s irregular, blotchy spots appearing in near-psychedelic colors.

The  clouded leopard theme, then, is the unifying element in the Vans x Kenzo Spring 2013 collection, which encompasses two classic Vans shoe styles — the laid-back Vans Classic Slip-On and the lace-up, low-top Vans Authentic — in six different colorways.

The Kenzo leopard print appears in the Classic Slip-On in three color combinations: Sunflower/Cuban Sand (as shown third from top), which features a perky yellow backdrop with cloudy spots outlined in black and cobalt blue and featuring a sandy cream color at their center; in Nutria/Spectrum Blue (shown at top), which boasts a khaki and forest green backdrop covered with blotchy spots outlined in indigo blue and filled with a chartreuse-tinged olive green; and in Peacoat/Spectrum Blue (shown last above), which features a cobalt blue and dark denim blue backdrop accented with spots outlined in black and featuring cyan blue centers.

The Vans Authentic, meanwhile, features the clouded leopard print in Peacoat/Spectrum Blue; in Pool Green/Flame (shown next to last above), featuring a light jade background with spots outlined in black and filled with a fiery blood orange hue; and in Flame/Pool Green (shown second above), which features a perky orange backdrop with spots outlined in black and dark forest green, then filled with a lighter shade of jade.

The Vans x Kenzo Spring 2013 collection is poised to hit stores later this month and will be available at Kenzo stores, Kenzo.com and at select retail partners including Opening Ceremony, Colette, Lane Crawford and IT Hong Kong.

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