Kenzo Takada, Famous Japanese Designer Dies Of Coronavirus Complications
Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, whose exuberant prints helped bring Japanese fashion to the world is dead. Kenzo died on Sunday at a hospital in Paris. He was 81.
The cause was complications of the novel coronavirus, a spokeswoman for the designer said. Adding that he was sick for a few weeks.
Known for his beaming smile and mischievous sense of fun, one of his more famous sayings was “fashion is like eating, you shouldn’t stick with the same menu”. Mr Takada was generally referred to only as Kenzo. He shook up the established French fashion world after arriving from Japan in 1964.
“Fashion is not for the few. it is for all the people, it should not be too serious,” he told The New York Times in 1972.
Though he initially planned to stay in Paris for only six months, he ended up living there for 56 years. His work opened doors not only for the highly influential Japanese designers who came after him, such as Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, but also created a new kind of mix-and-match aesthetic that crossed borders, colours and cultures, embraced diversity, and influenced a generation
Born in Himeji, Japan, on Feb. 27, 1939, Kenzo was one of seven children of Kenji and Shizu Takada, who ran a hotel. Mr Takada became interested in design after reading his sisters’ fashion magazines.
He studied literature at Kobe University to please his parents, who did not approve of the idea of a career in fashion. He later dropped out and applied to Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, where he became one of the first male students.
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In 1960, he won the Soen Prize, an award given by the prestigious Japanese fashion magazine Soen, and began his career designing girls clothing for the Sanai department store. His life changed, however, when, in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, his apartment block was torn down and he was given 10 months rent in compensation.
He used the money to travel to France by boat, passing through Singapore, Bombay and Spain. He ultimately landed in the French capital. There he rented a room near the Place de Clichy for 9 francs a day.
Kenzo began selling sketches to designers such as Louis Feraud. By 1970 he was able to open his first store, which he renovated himself, in the Galerie Vivienne. Inspired by Henri Rousseau, he painted the walls with wild florals and called the boutique, “Jungle Jap.” The name was somewhat controversial, and Mr Takada later rechristened his company Kenzo.
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