Kenzo Takada dies aged 81 of Covid-19
Kenzo Takada, the first Japanese designer to establish himself in France, has died of Covid-19 at the age of 81, in Paris.
Kenzo passed away on Sunday in the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, according to his spokesperson.
He leaves this world during Paris Fashion Week, and five days after the house he founded staged its latest runway show.
Kenzo first came to Paris in 1965, taking an ocean liner from Tokyo to Marseille, before installing himself in Paris. He quickly gained fame, first for a line named Jungle Jap and then for his own house, going on to develop clothing, accessories and perfume collections.
In 1993, Kenzo sold his house to the giant luxury group LVMH and retired from fashion six years later. He was best known for his graphic and floral prints, occasionally appearing at shows by succeeding designers at Kenzo, always looking eternally youthful. Last year, he even launched his own design line, underlining his undiminished energy.
Born on February 27, 1939 in Himeji near Osaka, Kenzo Takada showed early skill and passion for drawing and sewing, taught to him by his sisters.
After settling in Paris, he showed his first signature collection in 1970, before opening a boutique in the Galerie Vivienne. Six years later, he moved around the corner to a larger location at Place des Victoires, which is still the house’s main flagship boutique.
He launched his menswear collection in 1983, and his first perfume, Kenzo Kenzo, in 1988.
With his "nearly eight thousand designs," the Japanese designer "has never stopped celebrating fashion and the art of living," said his spokesperson.
He was to the end an enormously popular figure within the Paris fashion world, much loved for his joie de vivre, generous spirit and heavily-accented but well-spoken French. He will be sorely missed.
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