Fashion designer Kenzo Takada dies of coronavirus

Japanese designer died in France aged 81

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Kenzo Takada, the designer behind the Kenzo brand, has died of coronavirus in France. He was aged 81.

He died at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine on Sunday, midway through Paris Fashion Week, a company representative said.

News of his death comes a day after the Kenzo label showed its spring / summer 2021 collection at Paris Fashion Week, which is due to run until Tuesday.

Takada was born in Himeji in the Kansai region of Japan, but moved to Paris in 1964, where he started his fashion career.

The Kenzo headquarters remain in the French capital. Takada is considered to be the first Japanese designer to break into the French fashion scene.

Takada launched his eponymous luxury fashion house in 1970. It is now owned by LVMH, which also owns brands such as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Marc Jacobs.

He ran the brand as creative director until October 1999, when he stepped down. The label is currently being run by Felipe Oliveira Baptista.

Of Takada's death, Baptista wrote on Instagram: "It is with great sadness that I have learned the passing away of Mr Kenzo Takada. His amazing energy, kindness, talent and smile were contagious. His kindred spirit will live forever. Rest in peace Master."

After he left his eponymous label in the late-1990s, Takada focused on his art, before launching  lifestyle brand K3 in January 2020.

Tributes to Kenzo Takada

The brand has posted a touching tribute to its founder on Instagram.

"It is with immense sadness that Kenzo has learned of the passing of our founder, Kenzo Takada," it read.

"For half a century, Mr Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry – always infusing creativity and colour into the world. Today, his optimism, zest for life and generosity continue to be pillars of our Maison. He will be greatly missed and always remembered."

French designer Sonia Rykiel thanked Takada for his "contribution to fashion diversification".

Lalit Kumar Modi, founder of the Indian Premier League, wrote in a tweet he was "really deeply sad to hear of passing away of [his] dear friend".

Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times fashion director, wrote: "Kenzo Takada, the designer whose exuberant prints and volumes helped break the Paris barrier and bring Japanese fashion to the world, has died from the coronavirus."