The legendary Japanese designer Kenzo Takada in Paris, 2019.
On October 4th, Kenzo Takada sadly passed away while receiving post COVID treatment, in a Parisian hospital.
Tributes have poured in from all across the world for Kenzo Takada who died at the American Hospital in Paris, on October 4th.
He leaves behind a saturated legacy with bright graphics, jungle inspired prints and an exceptional use of colour. He also leaves behind an enormous cultural footprint as the very first designer of Japanese origin to gain prominence on the Paris fashion scene.
We want to celebrate his life though commemorating his legacy and accomplishments in the world of fashion as well as the contemporary art scene.
Kenzo was the first Japanese designer to make a name for himself first the Parisian fashion circle, and subsequently worldwide.
His Arrival to the World of Fashion
Despite coming from a prominent family of hoteliers, Kenzo chose to pursue his passion for art and permanently moved to Paris in 1969. In the early days of 1970, he sold sketches to fashion houses but later decided to strike it out on his own, with a small store called Jungle Jap. The colourful fashion label eventually became Kenzo, extending to perfumes with traces of both Western and Eastern influences. In 1971, his smock dresses made it to the pages of American Vogue.
His native Japan remained the source of inspiration for every collection he did. He kept the use of vibrant colours and volumes present at all times,” said Circe Henestrosa, head of the school of fashion at Singapore’s Lasalle College of the Arts.
His Deal with LVMH
In one interview Kenzo reflected on his past, ”the hardest year of my life was 1990, when my life partner Xavier died and my business partner had a stroke. That’s why I sold the company to LVMH in 1993. I felt I couldn’t do it on my own.”
In 1999, almost six years after Kenzo became part of the fashion conglomerate LVMH, Kenzo Takada retired from fashion to pursue a career in art. He stepped down from directing Kenzo entrusting the wheel he stood behind for 60 years to Gilles Rosier and Roy Krejberg.
In 2017 Kenzo Takada was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 55th Fashion Editors’ Club of Japan Awards ceremony.
His Last Days
For the last 21 years, Kenzo remained in his favorite city, venturing into different art mediums. He was treated for COVID complications in the American hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris.
As fashion journalist Suzy Menkes said, “he wanted to make happy clothes’. His work was avant-garde… it is sad when creative minds like Kenzo leave this world.”