June 17, 2024


The art of Fashion

Kenzo Takada, Initial Japanese Designer To Conquer Paris Style, Dies Aged 81

4 min read

Japan’s most popular manner designer Kenzo Takada, founder of the international Kenzo manufacturer, died in the French money on Sunday aged 81 after contracting coronavirus.

Tributes have poured in for Takada, the initial Japanese designer to decamp to Paris and acknowledged especially for his signature floral prints.

“These days, his optimism, zest for existence and generosity continue to be pillars of our Maison (Property). He will be enormously missed and often remembered,” the Kenzo fashion residence he founded wrote on Twitter.

Kenzo Takada founded his fashion house in 1970 and took Paris by storm Kenzo Takada launched his trend household in 1970 and took Paris by storm Image: AFP / JOEL SAGET


He “served to publish a new web site in trend, at the confluence of the East and the West”, said Ralph Toledano of the Haute Couture Federation.

His death will come 50 decades just after he introduced his initially selection in Paris, which he adopted as his house. “Every wall, each sky and just about every passer-by will help me build my collections,” he when said of the metropolis.

He retired from style in 1999, six yrs soon after providing his brand name to luxurious conglomerate LVMH, and devoted his time to just one-off assignments which includes a style assortment at the begin of this yr.

Takada presented his final summer collection in Paris in October 1999 Takada offered his ultimate summer months assortment in Paris in Oct 1999 Photograph: AFP / Frederick FLORIN




Born in 1939 into a spouse and children of hoteliers, he chose to study artwork not catering, getting a star pupil at Toyko’s Bunka Gakuen faculty, exactly where he carried off the top prize. He went on to get the job done for Sanai, a significant chain of trend shops, but dreamt of Paris.

Takada was born into a family of hoteliers but chose to study art not catering Takada was born into a relatives of hoteliers but selected to analyze art not catering Photograph: AFP / FRANCOIS GUILLOT


The 1964 Olympic Online games finally gave him his option to come to Europe. The block of flats in which he was renting an condominium was to be demolished to make way for a stadium.

Like all the tenants, he was compensated payment and resolved to blow the dollars on a one particular-way ticket on a cargo boat to Marseille.

Arriving in Paris in the wintertime of 1965, barely speaking any French, the only task he could get was in a poodle parlour.

The designer arrived in Paris in the winter of 1965 hardly speaking any French but later adopted it as his home The designer arrived in Paris in the winter of 1965 barely talking any French but afterwards adopted it as his residence Picture: AFP / Joël SAGET


In 1970, nonetheless, he took the lease of premises in the Galerie Vivienne, then a alternatively down-at-heel procuring arcade. “With a handful of good friends for 3 months we painted the walls with jungle scenes like Le Douanier Rousseau’s Snake Charmer and baptised it Jungle Jap,” he recalled later.

His initially present utilizing amateur types to preserve money was held there. A person of only 20 people invited incorporated the editor-in-chief of Elle journal, who liked the assortment so a lot she ran it on the entrance address.

He became a name almost right away, and went on to revitalise the knitwear field with his present-day interpretations.

By the early 1980s, when other Japanese designers were producing their way in Paris, Takada was previously very well proven on the French trend scene.

His first men’s selection was introduced in 1983 and his 1st perf
ume, Kenzo Kenzo, in 1988.

From the early 1980s boutiques opened all in excess of the planet in New York, London, Milan, Toyko and Rome, adopted later on by Hong Kong, Munich, Venice, Bangkok and Singapore.



Kenzo’s passionate style, with its eclectic blend of colour, touches of exoticism, ethnic prints and folksy embroidery, suited the temper of the 1970s but adapted effectively to the sharper-on the lookout 1980s and 1990s.

He drew inspiration from his travels as effectively as Japanese get the job done outfits, these kinds of as his favorite armed service tunics and coats. Peruvian striped blanket throws, vibrant shawls, oriental blouses, peasant smocks, printed velvet, have been all part of his signature.

It was a evaluate of his achievement that he was notoriously prey to copyists. British designer Jasper Conran, interviewed on the challenge, claimed he realized of a enterprise in South Africa specialising in ripping off Kenzo, seam for seam. “They make a fortune — more than Kenzo I reckon — but there is very little he can do about it.”

He guarded his privateness by creating himself a household in the region in the really coronary heart of Paris, only a couple of yards from the Bastille opera residence, comprehensive with reliable tea pavilion and a pool of carp.

“A designer with immense talent, he gave colour and light-weight their rightful position in trend,” said Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo on Twitter. “Paris is currently mourning 1 of its sons.”