The founder of Japanese fashion brand ‘Kenzo’, Kenzo Takada has reportedly died at the age of
81. A spokesman for the designer confirmed that the star had died at the American hospital in
Paris, Neuilly-sur-Seine, from coronavirus.
Takada was born in Japan but moved to Paris in 1964, where his fashion career began.
Five years later he created his first collection out of only $200 worth of fabric and later that year it was shown on the front cover of Elle magazine. His namesake fashion line, Kenzo, was launched in 1970.
The brand has always been known for its colourful florals and graphic prints, which proved
extremely popular in Paris and later the rest of the world. He was notably the first Japanese
designer to gain success in the particularly exclusive fashion capital that is Paris...particularly as
the styles that dominated the city at the time were very understated and proper, a far cry from
Kenzo’s trademark look.
Not only famous for the pret-a-porter collections, the skincare and perfume products also gained
worldwide success. When Takada retired from his eponymous brand in 1999, he went on to
explore other creative pursuits, including the luxury somewhere and lifestyle brand, K-3. Although
he left the brand to enjoy the ‘permanent holiday’ of retirement, Takada was still involved with
continuing the combination of traditional Japanese fashion and modern style that formed the
essence of the brand.
The news of his death comes just four days after the brand showed its spring/summer 2021
collection at Paris fashion week. A tribute was shared on the Kenzo instagram;
“It is with immense sadness that Kenzo has learned of the passing of our founder, Kenzo Takada.
For half a century, Mr Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry - always
infusing creativity and colour into the world,” the statement reads. “Today, his optimism, zest for
life and generosity continue to be pillars of our Maison. He will be greatly missed and always
After a lifetime of creating nearly 8,000 designs, the spokesman stated that the Japanese
designer “never stopped celebrating fashion and the art of living”.
By Sophie Easton