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Kenzo taught us to see the world in color

The history of the union between East and West

By Jessica Marinetto

Kenzo, an avant-garde Japanese designer and one of the first to show in Paris since the 1970s and to become popular in the West. A revolutionary and visionary designer who died in Paris due to complications due to coronavirus infection.

He had to stay in Paris for only six months when he first arrived in Europe, he stayed there for fifty-six years. He understood the need for a dusty and firm fashion in his Parisian haute couture schemes, creating a disruptive, ironic and exotic one.

First Asian couturier fascinated by European multiculturalism and thus decided, with his curiosity and innate authenticity, to present his first line. One of the most fascinating things about Kenzo was that he had no agreements with fabric factories and all his clothes, including fabrics, were hand-sewn.

"I had no money, so I went to buy fabrics at the Marché St Pierre in Paris,
I took the fabrics brought from Japan and sewed them together"

An explosion of colors and prints that enriched the extreme volumes of Japanese aesthetics, all combined with great freedom, leading Kenzo to write one of the most important chapters in the history of contemporary fashion. He was a precursor of the Asian wave of deconstructivist designers, from Yamamoto, Kawakubo, Myake, who imposed themselves on the European scene by giving a reinterpretation of the Western and Eastern world.

Later, he opened his first boutique the “Jungle Jap”, in the Galerie Vivienne, with floral walls painted by himself, inspired by Henri Rousseau's Dream.

The definitive success came thanks to Elle who published one of her works on the front page and the following show in her boutique attracted the international press.

"It didn't make sense for me to do what the French designers did, I didn't even know how to do it. So I started designing clothes in a different way, using the fabrics of kimonos and different sources of inspiration", he said in 2019.

Kenzo was a world full of free inspiration, it was color in all its shades. Kenzo was the courage to change in an era now frozen in rigid schemes. Kenzo was designing “happy” clothes for the body of women with an international taste.

 
 
 
 
 
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TRIBUTE TO OUR FOUNDER 🙏🏻🖤 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 color into the world. Today, his optimism, zest for life and generosity continue to be pillars of our Maison. He will be greatly missed and always remembered. 1. Kenzo Takada at the Galerie Vivienne boutique 2. KENZO Spring-Summer 1981, Oliviero Toscani @olivierotoscanistudio 3. KENZO Spring-Summer 1984 Show, Jean Luce Huré 1983 @jeanlucephoto 4. Le Pont Neuf in Paris covered with flowers, commissioned by Kenzo Takada as a gift to Parisians in June 1994 5. Kenzo Takada at the KENZO Fall-Winter 2020 Show

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Kenzo was way beyond the tiger sweatshirt.

Sayonara Kenzo.

 
 
 
 
 
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AN ODE TO OUR FOUNDER 🙏🏻🖤 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 color into the world. Today, his optimism, zest for life and generosity continue to be pillars of our Maison. He will be greatly missed and always remembered. “It is with great sadness that I have learned the passing away of Mr Kenzo Takada. His amazing energy, kindness, talent and smile were contagious. His kindred spirit will live forever. Rest in peace Master.” -@felipeoliveirabaptista

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