JAPANESE fashion designer Kenzo Takada, famed for his eponymous brand Kenzo, has died aged 81, from COVID-19
The head of the global fashion brand contracted the virus and passed away at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, according to reports.
Born in 1939, the designer was known worldwide for his Kenzo line. The 81-year-old was the first Japanese designer to make a name in the very competitive fashion scene in Paris and he was inspired by Yves Saint Laurent.
Kenzo gained prominence in 1970 after fashion magazine Elle featured one of his designs on their cover.
After selling his clothing brand to luxury conglomerate LVMH and later retiring in 1999, Kenzo has worked on a luxury home and lifestyle brand entitled K3, launched in January of this year.
Included in the range are carpets, furniture, and ceramics.
Kenzo’s love for fashion developed at an early age, particularly through reading his sisters’ magazines. Deciding to take his fashion interests further, Kenzo enrolled at Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College in 1958, which had then just opened its doors to male students. Some years later, Kenzo took a four-month boat trip from Japan to France
The designer struggled to make it in Paris at first and planned to return home but kept working in the industry until his big break with Elle. The next year, he won the Fashion Editor Club of Japan prize.
In October 1976, he opened his flagship store, Kenzo, in the Place des Victoires.
Two years later, Kenzo held his shows in a circus tent, finishing with horsewomen performers wearing transparent uniforms and he himself riding an elephant. His first men’s collection was launched in 1983. A children’s line called Kenzo Jungle, as well as men’s and women’s jeans, was released in 1986.