Cover Kenzo Takada was the first Japanese to conquer the Paris fashion scene (Photo: Francois Durand/Getty Images For Jean-Paul Gaultier)

The fashion designer behind international brand Kenzo was one of the first Japanese to gain prominence on the Paris fashion scene

Famed Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, the founder of global brand Kenzo, died at the American Hospital in Paris at aged 81 following Covid-19 complications. According to a spokesperson for the designer, he had already been sick for a few weeks.

The Japanese native is known for his use of colourful, floral prints and is one of the first Japanese designers to conquer the Paris fashion scene. He arrived in France in 1965 after a month-long trip by boat following a brief stint working in Japan, and originally only planned a short stay in the country but eventually called it home.

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He founded Kenzo under his first name in the 1970s, launched a men's line in 1983, and then his first perfume line, Kenzo Kenzo, in 1988 to great success. He eventually sold Kenzo to luxury conglomerate LVMH in 1993.

Despite his retirement in 1999 to pursue a career in art, Kenzo remains one of the most respected brands in high Paris fashion. His death comes 50 years after launching his first collection in Paris.

Just this January, he introduced K3, a line of luxury homeware and lifestyle, and was then seen at Felipe Oliviera Baptiste debut show for the house in February. 

“It is with immense sadness that Kenzo has learned of the passing of our founder. For half a century, Mr. Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry—always infusing creativity and colour into the world." the fashion house said in their statement. "Today, his optimism, zest for life and generosity continue to be pillars of our Maison. He will be greatly missed and always remembered."

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