During Paris Fashion Week, the fashion industry has been mourning the loss of French-Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, who died yesterday at the age of 81 from complications from COVID-19 in a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris.
«It is with immense sadness that KENZO has learned of the passing of our founder,» the fashion house said in a statement. «For half a century, Mr Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry — always infusing creativity and color into the world.»
KENZO S/S 2021 with designer Felipe Oliveira Beptista in the middle
It was only days ago that the Kenzo fashion house unveiled its bee-themed collection for S/S 2021. «His amazing energy, kindness and talent and smile were contagious,» said KENZO’s artistic director, Felipe Oliveira Beptista, who released the new range to us fashion editors. «His kindred spirit will live forever.»
The Kenzo F/W 1982 collection was a huge inspiration for the Kenzo x H&M collaboration.
Kenzo Takada brought Japanese fashion to the world, he planned to stay in Paris for six months but stayed 56 years. Born in 1939, he grew up with six siblings near the Japanese city of Himeji where his parents owned a hotel. His love for fashion developed at an early age, particularly through reading his sisters’ magazines. He studied at Tokyo’s Bunka College of Fashion, which had then just opened its doors to male students. After that he had a brief stint working in Japan before relocating to France in 1965.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, tweeted that the city was «morning one of its sons,» saying the designer had given space to color and light in fashion.
KENZO collections from the ’80s and early ’90s
When I think of KENZO, I think of happy fashion with his colorful graphic and floral prints, jungle-infused designs and free-spirited aesthetic that channeled global travel. He was hugely popular, both for his high fashion and luxury day-to-day streetwear.
The designer sold his brand to LVMH back in 1993 and stepped away from the brand 6 years later to pursue a career in art. «Kenzo Takada has, from the 1970s, infused into fashion a tone of poetic lightness and sweet freedom which inspired many designers after him,» said LVMH chief, Bernard Arnault.
«My work was always about freedom and harmony,» Kenzo Takada once said. «I’d like to be remembered as a designer who crossed boundaries.» Rest in Peace – you will surely be remembered like this!
Sporting KENZO in 2016, click here for the outfit post.
Photos: © KENZO and © Sandra Bauknecht