Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, who created a fashion empire with his namesake brand, passed away on Sunday following COVID-19 complications. The Paris-based designer was 81 years old, revealed a spokesperson for Takada’s luxury K-3 brand. The news of his sudden death came amid the ongoing Paris Fashion Week. “It is with immense sadness that the brand K-3 announces the loss of its celebrated artistic director, Kenzo Takada. The world-renowned designer passed away on October 4th, 2020 due to Covid-19 related complications at the age of 81 at the American Hospital, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France,” read a statement from the late couturier’s team.
Takada made a dashing debut in Paris with the design house Kenzo in 1970. Known for incorporating bold and vibrant colours, abstract prints and funky silhouettes, he became a leading name in global fashion in the late 1990s. “There was much more of a cultural gap when you were traveling from one country to the next,” Takada once told CNN in a 2019 interview, recalling the trips he took in the 1970s. “So that really drove me and gave me a lot of influence and inspiration to work on different things around my trips.
On Paris, Takada would speak of its lasting influence. “A French way of working with fashion definitely influenced me and much later I started to blend other cultures into that specific fashion,” he said. “Of course now, fashion is everywhere; in New York, Paris, Milan, London, Tokyo, everywhere. But I think Paris stays very important.” The designer opened his flagship store in the city’s Place des Victoires by 1976. “Kenzo Takada was incredibly creative; with a stroke of genius, he imagined a new artistic and colourful story combining East and West — his native Japan and his life in Paris,” Jonathan Bouchet Manheim, CEO of Takada’s K-3 brand, launched in January of this year, said in a statement to CNN. “I had the chance to work alongside him for many years, always in awe, admiring his curiosity and his open-mindedness. He seemed quiet and shy at first, but he was full of humour. He was generous and always knew how to look after the people close to his heart. He had a zest for life. Kenzo Takada was the epitome of the art of living,” he concluded.