Kenzo Takada, Who Brought Japanese Fashion to the World, Dies at 81

“His first fashion shows were memorable,” Mr. Gabet mentioned. “Light and playful, with models more dancing and walking than presenting clothes, faraway from the hierarchical vision of French couture.”

Known for his sense of enjoyable, Mr. Takada — who disliked being referred to as a “Japanese designer” since he thought of himself a “fashion designer” first — staged reveals in a circus tent, and with himself driving an elephant. They have been “legendary, and the toughest ticket in town,” mentioned Gene Pressman, former co-chief government of Barneys. “He was a cult figure for the young and young-hearted.”

Mr. Takada launched males’s put on in 1983, a denims line in 1986 and fragrance in 1988, however by 1993, struggling after his life companion died and his enterprise companion had a stroke, Mr. Takada determined to promote his firm to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French trend conglomerate, for roughly $80 million. Though he initially stayed on as the designer, in 1999, he had had sufficient and determined to step away from trend, with its more and more frenetic tempo and industrial calls for.

“Everything has changed, from the way we make clothes to the way information spreads and how many seasons there are now,” he mentioned to The South China Morning Post.

Though Kenzo, the model, continued underneath a sequence of various designers — together with the crew of Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, who introduced again Mr. Takada’s signature trendsetting tiger, and the present inventive director, Felipe Oliveira Baptista — Kenzo, the man, explored different artistic avenues.

He designed costumes for the opera, created the Japanese Olympic uniforms in 2004, painted, and created a brand new homewares assortment. He opened his archives for a espresso desk tome of his work launched in February 2019, “Kenzo Takada,” combining sketches, diary excerpts, letters and images.

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