Known for his sense of celebration, jungle-inspired prints, and eclectic use of color, Kenzo Takada was the first Japanese designer to gain prominence on the Paris fashion scene. He settled in France in the 1960s and spent the rest of his career there.
With his “nearly 8,000 designs”, the Japanese designer “never stopped celebrating fashion and the art of living”, his spokesman said. His women’s fashion brand flourished and became an internationally known fashion label, adding a menswear line in 1983 and then more casual sportswear lines Kenzo Jeans and Kenzo Jungle. Kenzo fragrances and eyewear soon followed.
In October 1999, Kenzo Takada said goodbye to fashion with a last cheerful show. The one who had sold his house to LVMH 6 years earlier, bowed out in joy and good humor. This ultimate collection presented at the Zénith, in front of 4,000 people, was a show-performance bringing together musicians, animals, dancers, against a background of multi-ethnic inspiration.
“His native Japan remained [the] source of inspiration for every collection he did. He kept the use of vibrant colors and volumes present at all times,” said Circe Henestrosa, head of the school of fashion at Singapore’s Lasalle College of the Arts.