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.
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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.