Fashion designer Kenzo Takada dies from COVID-19 at 81
PARIS - An iconic Franco-Japanese designer who transformed the industry with free-spirited, revolutionary styles for women's clothing has passed away due to COVID-19 complications.
The family of renowned designer Kenzo Takada confirmed that he died over the weekend in a hospital near Paris, ABC News reports.
Kenzo's fashion house issued a statement on Instagram: "It is with immense sadness that KENZO has learned of the passing of our founder... for half a century, Mr. Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry - always infusing creativity and color into the world."
Takada stepped away from the industry in 1999 to pursue a career in art, but his influence as a highly respected designer remained strong.
Born on February 27, 1939, in Himeji, Japan, Takada's parents were hoteliers, and instead of following in their footsteps young Takada followed a love of all things textile design that he'd developed after reading his sister's fashion magazines.
He studied fashion at the Bunka College of Fashion in Tokyo and eventually relocated to Paris in 1965, where he worked as a freelance designer.
ABC reports that once in Paris, due to meager funding, Takada's first collection was made entirely out of cotton.
Despite the inexpensive textile, the design of his clothing struck a cord with the industry and one of Takada's models was chosen to grace the cover of Elle magazine. After this, Takada's creativity led to a series of innovative tweaks to shoulder forms, large armhole designs, and smock tent dresses that continued to impress his colleagues.
He took the industry by storm in the 1970's, and from his base in France, Takada's designs were featured in New York and Tokyo.
The brand Takada owned is now run by the French luxury goods company LVMH and the current head designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista unveiled Kenzo's spring-summer 2020 to fashion editors on Wednesday.
"His amazing energy, kindness, talent and smile were contagious," Baptista said. "His kindred spirit will live forever."
Takada was 81 years of age.
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