The Japanese founder of fashion brand Kenzo, Kenzo Takada, had died from Covid-19 complications at age 81, according to French media.
Known as the name that brought Japanese fashion to the world, he was the first Japanese designer to gain prominence in the Paris fashion scene with his now signature colourful graphic and floral prints.
Here are a few quick facts about the Japanese designer who “never stopped celebrating fashion and the art of living” as described by his spokesman.
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Takada settled in France in the 1960s, from where he built his career, sold off his eponymous brand, retired and spent the rest of his career.
Born in Himeji near Osaka in 1939 where his parents ran a hotel, he was fascinated with fashion at an early age.
Upon his father’s passing in 1958, he enrolled at the Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo as one of the once all-female establishment’s first male students.
He worked in a department store designing women’s clothes upon graduation, and looked up to French designer Yves Saint Laurent, who was first exposed to him via a teacher at Bunka who had spent time in Paris.
Takada arrived in France in the French port of Marseille in 1965, initially just to visit. He ended up settling in Paris after meeting his partner Xavier de Castella, who died in 1990.
He founded his brand in the 1970s, taken simply from his own first name, Kenzo.
It spun off into a men’s line in 1983.
In the late 1980s, he would also introduce a more casual and sportswear line Kenzo Jeans and Kenzo Jungle, each not short of his trademark bright colours, flowers and jungle prints, a fresh breakaway from the traditional prim and proper Parisian mode of the time.
He designed not only clothes, but created a global brand of perfume and skin products, which also burst with his pret-a-porter signature touch.
In 1993, he sold his brands to luxury conglomerate LVMH.
He retired in 1999, six years after the sale, but continued to design independent homeware and capsule collections.
In 2016, he was knighted by the title of Knight of the Legion of Honour.
In the beginning of this year, he launched a new interior design brand called K3.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing that he was a”designer of immense talent” and “had given colour and light their place in fashion. Paris cries today for one of its sons.”