Kenzo Takada, the iconic French-Japanese fashion designer famed for his jungle-infused designs and free-spirited aesthetic that channeled global travel, has died. He was 81. The family said in a statement to French media Sunday that Takada died from complications from COVID-19 in a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris. A public relations officer for Kenzo's brand confirmed that Takada died, but didn't give a cause of death, the AP reports. “It is with immense sadness that KENZO has learned of the passing of our founder,” the fashion house said in a statement. "For half a century, Mr. Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry—always infusing creativity and color into the world.” Takada's death came at the tail end of Paris Fashion Week, whose nine-day calendar is undertaking an unusual fashion season for spring-summer 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was only days ago that the Kenzo fashion house unveiled its bee-themed collection in Paris. Though Takada had been retired from his house since 1999 to pursue a career in art, Kenzo remains one of the most respected fixtures of high Paris fashion. Since 1993, the Kenzo brand has been owned by the French luxury goods company LVMH. Kenzo's styles used bold color, clashing prints and were inspired by travels all over the world. Takada’s first collection was made entirely out of cotton because he had little money. But the clothes spoke for themselves and a model of his was put on the cover of Elle magazine. A short time after, pioneering shoulder forms, large armholes, dungarees, smock tent dresses, innovative shoulder shapes, and his store was featured in US Vogue. Kenzo showed collections in New York and Tokyo in 1971. More on his life here.
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