The famous Kenzo brand was founded by Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, who came to Paris to realize his dream of becoming a fashion designer in 1965.
His fate is like a fairy tale: born in a village in one of the Japanese provinces in 1939, the fifth child in the family of the owner of the tea house became a revolutionary European costume, one of the most notable designers of the XX century. Isn’t that a miracle?
Kenzo Takada’s interest in costume arose at school, but at the insistence of his father he had to go to Kobe Gaibo University, the faculty of English literature. Here he did not last long – only one semester. After leaving school, he left for Tokyo, where he entered the oldest Japanese school of fashion designers Bunka Gakuen. He was not embarrassed by the fact that it was a women’s educational institution, and he was the first young man in the entire history of his existence.
In order to pay for my studies, I had to work a lot as a house painter. After graduation, he was a fashion designer in the chain of department stores “Sanai” and a model in one of the capital’s fashion magazines. With the money he earned, he could buy a dilapidated house on the outskirts of Tokyo. And here he was very lucky: for this house the government paid him 350 thousand yen because of the need for his demolition during the reconstruction of the area. Any normal person would buy decent housing in the capital, and Kenzo Takada would buy a ticket to Paris!
Kenzo brand clothing models
So he found himself in Paris – in this fashion mecca! Having settled in Montmartre, Kenzo began to regularly attend fashion shows of high fashion masters, trying to determine his work. It was 1965: in fashion – elegant simplicity from Chanel and exquisite dresses from Dior. They can not be surpassed by an ambitious Japanese youth: he perfectly understood this. He had to look for his own way in creativity, and he found it!
During this period, a youth fashion appears in which there is everything, like in the Kabuki theater: bright colors, incredible prints, free cut, and most importantly – a joyful feeling of celebration! Exactly what was close to his heart!
Kenzo – fashion shows
Kenzo brand (Kenzo) – photo: clothing models from Kenzo brand fashion shows
Kenzo opened his first boutique under the name Jungle Jap in 1970, and soon announced the display of his collection. She was too unusual for Parisians: bright clothes, like a kimono, seemed even funny. However, the glamorous styles that emphasize the waist and hips, have long been tired of everything in order, so loose, voluminous things that looked unusual and fresh, very quickly became fashionable.
The 70s of the 20th century are the stellar decade for Kenzo Takada. After the opening of his label in 1976, he became especially popular as a designer who created his own style – the “new deconstructivism”, which is characterized by voluminous, free-form products, the absence of tucks, zippers and buttons.
It was Kenzo who invented the sleeve called the “bat”: unusual, voluminous, somewhat shocking, but very romantic! This sleeve will be in fashion again in 2012!
Kenzo fashion models
Voluminous sweater dresses, long and spacious jackets, false shoulders, cropped trousers and coats – Kenzo owes all this to modern fashion.
The hippie movement had a definite effect on Kenzo’s work: everyone knows their love of flowers! Floral prints are his favorite fabric designs!
Kenzo was one of the first to turn fashion shows into an unusual show. Victoire Square, Pont Neuf Bridge, circus, stock exchange building, D’0rsay Museum, Trocadero Square – in these beautiful places in Paris, he organized his enchanting fashion shows.
In 1983, Kenzo launched a line of men’s clothing, which was a great success.
In 1987, Kenzo’s first female fragrance, Kenzo de Kenzo, was launched. The bottle of this floral fragrance depicted a bud of a fantastic flower that is not in nature: the designer is faithful to his affections! Fragrances like L’Eau par Kenzo, Flower by Kenzo, Kenzo Jungle have fans all over the world – they are great!
In 1999, Kenzo Takada was awarded the American Peace Prize – Time for Peace Award – “For a cosmopolitan career and style that has absorbed echoes of a wide variety of cultures and traditions.” This was the first designer to receive such an award. At the award ceremony, Kenzo demonstrated to the public the Dress of Peace – his first haute couture outfit embroidered with sakura flowers in the studio of Francois Lesage.
Kenzo Takada In 1993, Kenzo sold his flourishing company to the LVMH group to free up time for creativity. For some time he was engaged in the development of models under the Kenzo brand, however, he had already left this activity for six years. And it’s not a matter of old age: he is only 72 years old, for the Japanese it’s not much. He loves life too much to work hard! Now he does what he wants: travels, creates interiors, etc.