The Japanese designer Kenzo Takada died at the age of 81 years old due to the coronavirus, at the American hospital of Neuilly-sur-Seine, in Paris where he had been hospitalized for days. The news shook the world of fashion that just these days in the French capital for the fashion week. Kenzo, who in any case had left the catwalks in 1999 (now the maison of the LVMH group) continued to be a point of reference for what from the seventies until his retirement he had told with his style, colorful and original, the result of his boundless culture and curiosity: I’m glad they say that I influenced people, but it is actually me who is influenced by them. The world in which I live my influence.
He always said to those who gave him credit: from power flower, to animalier, to bright colors, these are his signatures over the years. Born a Himeji in the Japanese prefecture of Hyogo on February 23, 1939, fifth of seven children, since he was a child he does not hide his passion for fashion and clothes. But his parents do not allow him to indulge his creativity. He chooses to study English literature. But at the age of twenty she took her own path and left for Tokyo, enrolling in a fashion school. Six years and in 1965 he flies to Paris. How not to get involved in that changing climate: between the elegance of Dior and Chanel and the modernisms of a Cardin or a Rabanne. Fashion shows and dreams and many things to say. Fashion like food, the important thing never to dwell on the same men.
In 1970 he opened his first boutique: Jungle Jap in the bohemian Galrie Vivienne. And the name says a lot about what Kenzo Takanda tells the Parisians: stories of jungle and animals and flowers, reminiscent of the Orient from which he comes. Knitted dresses and printed fabrics and energizing and ironic designs. In a mix & match between this and that world, closer to the street than to couture. Forms in the making, always. Rather hidden drawstrings to create silhouettes when needed. It is the seventies and eighties and the covers of the most important fashion magazines follow him. Perfumes and many other licenses will arrive. He, however shy and reserved like almost all Japanese designers, continues, despite his success, to cultivate his curiosity. And he designs clothes for the theater, for the cinema. After his retirement he takes care of his wonderful homes and begins to deal with interiors, furniture, bringing his world, like Takada, also there. Kenzo will remain among the leading brands of the LVMH group first with the Italian Antonio Marras, then with the duo Humberto Leon and Carol Lim and now with Felipe Oliveira Baptista. The Japanese designer, like many after his retirement, rarely sat in the front row at his successors’ shows. But everyone wanted to meet him to breathe some of his inexhaustible energy and kindness also perceived simply by his always incredible smile.
October 4, 2020 (change October 4, 2020 | 18:16)
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