Tributes poured in from all across the world for Kenzo Takada, the Japanese founder of popular fashion brand Kenzo, who passed away on October 5, at the age of 81, from complications linked to coronavirus. Takada was known for his Japan-inspired bright jungle inspired prints and eclectic use of color and was the first Japanese designer to gain widespread popularity on the Paris fashion scene.
Born in 1939 in Himeji, near Osaka, Takada made his way by boat to Paris in 1965. He began his career in fashion by first selling sketches to fashion houses, and then later deciding to strike it out on his own, with a small store called Jungle Jap. Takada’s major breakthrough finally came when the fashion magazine Elle put one of his looks on their cover in 1971. There was controversy over the brand name and Takada rechristened the label with his first name – and Kenzo the brand was born. Kenzo flourished as an internationally known fashion label, adding a menswear line in 1983 and then more casual sportswear lines- Kenzo Jeans and Kenzo Jungle. These were soon followed by Kenzo fragrances and eyewear. Takada sold Kenzo to LVMH at the height of the brand’s success in the 1990s. He stayed at the label for a few years and retired from fashion in 1999 at the age of 60.
“Designer of immense talent, he had given color and light their place in fashion. Paris is now mourning one of its sons.” – Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Takada via Twitter.
“I was a fan of the brand in the 1970s when he started. I think he was a great designer,” – Sidney Toledano, CEO of luxury conglomerate LVMH which owns the Kenzo brand.