Reflecting on the life of Kenzo Takada, esteemed Japanese fashion designer

By Allison Arnzen

October 10, 2020

Paris, France

Kenzo Takada, 2020.
Source: @kenztakada_official

On October 4, 2020, fashion designer Kenzo Takada, 81, passed away in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris, France due to complications of the novel Coronavirus.

Takana was born in Himeji, Japan, on February 27, 1939, and has left a lasting influence on the world of fashion and design. Takada brought positivity into this world, and after his death it is important to examine the highlights of the 81 years of life he lived and the brand he established.

Young Kenzo Takada.
Source: @kenzo on Instagram

Early in his life Takana moved to Paris, with the dream to follow his aspirations. With intentions of a six month stay, his first journey beyond Japan soon became long term. His 1965, departure was a change that came with uncertainty. Takada discovered his way in an unfamiliar country, and he also broke barriers while working to find his place. In 1970, Takada founded the House of Kenzo, originally named Jungle Jap. As he established the world-renowned company, he served as an artistic director prior to selling his brand. His work continues to be cultivated and his legacy will carry on and impact those who follow in his footsteps in the House of Kenzo.

Takada is known as a Japanese-French fashion designer. Upon discovering his true style, he brought popularity with influence of Japanese fashion to the west with appreciation and celebration. From there, his unique approach led him to become a world-renowned figure of fashion as a designer in the 20th century. “For half a century, Kenzo has been infusing positive energy and contagious freedom by claiming a polychrome, daring and borderless fashion that celebrates nature and cultural diversity.”

Kenzo Takada, 2020. Source: @kenzotakada_official

He brought perfume, skincare products, and clothes for men and women into the world. Along with these contributions, he served as the honorary president of the Asian Couture Federation. Takada’s work challenged boundaries as he paved the way for many with distinguishable designs and experimental mindsets. His many influences are found in the colorful knitwear and the one-of-a-kind fashion shows he produced that garnered attention, and earned his place as a high fashion designer.

The brand Kenzo was sold in 1993 to LMVH. Today, Sylvie Colin is the CEO. In an effort to respect the brand, Portuguese designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista is now artistic director. Kenzo carries on with 122 stores globally, 525 employees, representing 28 nationalities which helps maintain alignment with Takada’s original vision.

K-3 lifestyle brand designed by Takada, 2020. Source: kenzotakada_official

With his continuing pursuit of design, Takada launched K3. Following his departure from fashion, his return to work led to his return to the interior design industry. By offering luxury products, Takada remained true to his style and vibrant use of colors. The team that now works alongside the launch of this brand in 2020 consists of various international individuals. The brand was founded by Takada with Jonathan Bouchet Manheim, Engelbert Honorat, Wanda Jelimini, among other team members. The K3 brand continues to follow his creative direction through the use of his creative mindset of interior design and furniture. By remaining true to his beginnings, this influence combines both Western and Japanese design.

It is with great respect; we appreciate Takada and the significance of his work. The fashion community will continue to honor and seek gratitude in his honor.

Young Kenzo Takada.
Source: @kenzo