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Designer Kenzo Takada, the founder of Kenzo, dies of Covid-19 aged 81

Written by on October 5, 2020

Kenzo Takada poses during a photo session in Paris on November 14, 2018.
Credit: JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

(CNN) – Paris-based Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, famous for creating the international luxury fashion house Kenzo, died in Paris on Sunday due to Covid-19 related complications, a spokesperson for Takada’s luxury K-3 brand said in a statement sent to CNN. His death came in the midst of Paris Fashion Week, which, through a hybrid of physical and digital shows, has forged ahead despite rising Covid-19 cases in France.

“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,” the statement read.

The world’s varied cultures would be a constant source of creativity — and everything from folk dresses to kimonos would be boldly reinterpreted for his runways. “There was much more of a cultural gap when you were traveling from one country to the next,” he told CNN in a 2019 interview, reminiscing about trips taken 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.”

Models wear bright colored suits with matching turbans by  designer Kenzo Takada at his Autumn-Winter show in Paris, 1986.
Vauthey/Sygma/Getty Images

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.”


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