Kenzo- a legend to be remembered
Hey guys, how have you been?
I know it has been quite a long time since I last posted an article on my blog and because of that, I wanted to start this post with an understanding of what happened in my life that pushed me to not write for a few months.
I have mentioned in other posts that I suffer from anxiety and sometimes loneliness. This past few months I have been hit by spontaneous moments of anxiety and sadness. Some of them in which I know the cause of and some of which I do not know. Additionally, I have moved back to London and the change of environment is always hard for me, more so now that I have stayed in Romania for almost 7 months due to Covid-19. I will make a specific post about this type of struggles in the future cause I believe that there are so many people out there who suffer from the same thing and I want you to know that you're not alone.
Without further due, let's hope on the article that you all came to see!
Kenzo Takada was a designer that was in my repertoire of legends in the fashion industry. He influenced and changed throughout the years the industry through a mix of Occident and Orient in his collections.
He has died at the age of 81 after contracting Covid-19 but his legacy as the first successful international Japanese still goes on. He was born in Japan but in 1964 he decided to move to France to start his career and made his home there for the rest of his life.
“It was really just a dream for me to go to Paris/
There was the nouvelle vague, and Paris was in all the movies I watched. It was 60 years ago, but I still remember arriving at the Gare du Nord and thinking, ‘My God, I’ve made a big mistake here.’ Everything was so dark and dirty. It was only when I got to see Notre Dame illuminated that I changed my mind."
“But I never really hoped to actually work in fashion in Paris because I kept being told that it would be impossible for a Japanese person to do so/
There was this sense that nobody from Japan could be competent. So I thought I’d just be there for five or six months—that was before I found I could make a living as an illustrator.”
After that, he made a name for himself through his different contrast of patterns and bold colours. His first collection debuted in 1970 at Galerie Vivienne. Without having financial support, his clothes were designed with affordable pieces of cloth that were purchased from Marché Saint-Pierre.
“That [mixing of cultures and fabrics] ended up having a big impact because it helped me define a style for myself/
Looking back, I think it was also because I was looking for some kind of identity as an outsider that I wanted to bring something very Japanese into it all. It’s strange that, even though I’m Japanese, I think most people think of me as a French designer."
He was a designer known for his extravagant shows and presentations. His 1978 and 1979 shows were depicted circus tents with animals surrounding the ring, an orchestra in the background and Kenzo circling on an elephant.
He was a pioneer in fashion. He was the first who brought to life the "buy directly from catwalk" concept, due to his need for money. Likewise, he was the first brand who collaborated with mass-market retailers and brought the accessibility of possessing high fashion items for lower prices. Even thou, this at the beginning impacted him in a negative aspect as a lot of stockists refused to buy further from the brand.
In 1983, his brand first showcased their menswear collection with a new approach to the classic tailored suits.
“Once I saw photographs of a gentleman wearing light blue and white, and an elderly gentleman wearing light pink and yellow, and this combination inspired me,”
“Since men must work, they must be classy, but they also must be traditional as there is much resistance to change,”
“I will maintain the classic base and maintain the fibres to match the times.”
Kenzo got critically successful fast which resulted in the label being sold in 1993 to the LVMH group that includes as well Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and so many more. It said that this decision influenced by his mother and partner death but as well as how the fashion industry evolves at a high speed.
"If I made one major contribution to fashion, it was helping to bring some accessibility to it. What I did wasn’t exactly basic, but it wasn’t couture either, and this was at a time when French fashion at least was really all about couture. It created a new market, in a way. At the time, you don’t really realize that what you’re doing might be in some way new because everything is going so fast. That said, I consider myself really lucky, though, because it was exactly the right time for what I happened to do.”
Thank you for your legacy, Kenzo Takada!
VIVA (2020) Innovative Fashion Designer Kenzo Takada Dies Aged 81 Available at: https://www.viva.co.nz/article/fashion/innovative-fashion-designer-kenzo-takada-dies-aged-81/
NUVO (2020) Kenzo Takada On His Creative Life Available at: https://nuvomagazine.com/magazine/autumn-2019/kenzo-takada-on-his-creative-life
CATWALK YOURSELF (2020) Kenzo Takada Available at: http://www.catwalkyourself.com/fashion-biographies/kenzo-takada/
THE GUARDIAN (2020) Kenzo Takada obituary Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/oct/06/kenzo-takada-obituary
Richard Haughton (2020) In Pictures: Three Decades of Kenzo Takada’s Pioneering Fashion Available at: https://www.anothermag.com/fashion-beauty/11460/kenzo-takadas-fashion-designer-book-kazuko-masui-chihiro-masui
REX (2010) Kenzo celebrates 40 years Available at: http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG8112761/Kenzo-celebrates-40-years.html
The Guardian (2020) KENZO TAKADA’S PLAYFUL LEGACY IN PICTURES Available at: https://coolhunting.com/style/kenzo-takadas-playful-legacy-in-pictures/
REX/Shutterstock (2016) 13 Kenzo moments we love – and that’s not even counting the H&M collab Available at: https://www.marieclaire.co.uk/fashion/best-kenzo-moments-433708
AP NEWS (2018) Chloe goes romantic in Paris; Kenzo pays homage to Rousseau Available at: https://apnews.com/article/d4b8b14418d74bacacfd2e998b9d39f6
FIB (2015) Renegades Of Fashion: Kenzo Takada – “A Sense of Joyous Wonder” Available at: https://fashionindustrybroadcast.com/2015/07/15/renegades-of-fashion-kenzo-takada-a-sense-of-joyous-wonder/
DAILY SABAH (2020) Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada dies from coronavirus at age 81 Available at: https://www.dailysabah.com/life/fashion/japanese-fashion-designer-kenzo-takada-dies-from-coronavirus-at-age-81