Transitions: Kenzo Takada (1939-2020)
He had two names, Kenzo Takada, but like a lot of very iconic people who’ve had an impact on the world, he was known only by one: Kenzo. Kenzo was one of the world’s most creative and inventive fashion designers, born in Japan and realized in Paris, a city which he intended to visit only for a short time but was so entranced by it (and it by hime) that he ended up spending the last 56 years of his life there. In the process he became one of the world’s great clothing designers, whose sense of style, line, color and pattern were unduplicated, as was his sharp wit and huge sense of fun.
Kenzo got it. He believed that great fashion should be available to all, not just the very, very wealthy. He was a rarity in the fashion world, not just for his designs but for the quality of his ideas and the joy he put into his work and life. “Fashion is like eating”, he once said, “you shouldn’t have the same menu all the time”. And so he changed, evolved, revolutionized, stirred it up, progressed, experimented, delighted.
Kenzo was prepping a fashion show for the next season when he was hospitalized in early fall. He died of Covid-19 on 4 October 2020, the same virus that has taken so many of our very best and brightest far too early. Although at 81 he was in the “kill zone” for the virus (it disproportionately affects older people), he was very active, very sharp, but–because of age–very vulnerable. He will be missed, not just for his work but the new talent he brought to the scene including such contemporaries as Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo.
The New York Times (our go-to for details of lives well lived) published a wonderful obituary on Kenzo,which you should read. To see his work, check out this wonderful link from Lina Naamani on Pinterest.
To get the full Kezno treatment, click this link to the Fall-Winter 2020 Show.
The very best way to celebrate someone’s life is to take an element of it that you really admire, and build on it, yourself—whether it’s not taking things too seriously or opening doors for young talented people or something else they did that you admired. In the world we live in now, we’re running a little short of really good stories. Best to start creating some ourselves, in the shadows of the reputations of those who’ve left us too early.
The Fine Print: Photo of Kenzo courtesy of our friends at Getty Images, who have the photographic history of the 20th and 21st Century on file. All copyrights owned by their designated owners. This site makes no claim to copyright ownership. Post produced by Perception Engineering and The Media Bunker team, who keep up with the events and people of our times. Copyright 2020 donald pierce and SouthchesterGroup, LLC. Stay well, stay safe, and wash your hands. And practice safe distancing….it’s not so bad.