In a previous interview with Fashionista, accolade architect and mind behind KENZO, Kenzo Takada, discusses his time at the leading edge of fashion. Takada sat down in the said interview to also promote his latest creative enterprise: designing furniture and spoke with writer Whitney Bauck.
Kenzo Takada’s namesake collection only lasted until 1999, but by that time, the Japanese designer had completely transformed the fashion business, and we are still feeling the effects. Takada has transformed the way design does business by being one of the earliest examples of ready-to-wear and effectively developing the mass-market designer partnership model that is so common today.
The Japanese designer has not created any apparel in over 20 years since leaving KENZO, but that does mean he has not innovated. He was in the United States a few years ago to promote his new partnership with Roche Bobois, a luxury French furniture brand that is teeming with brilliant hues and patterns, much like his earlier wardrobe designs.
Takada’s first tip to Paris from Japan in his 20s resulted in the whirlwind of color and texture that became known as KENZO. Takada was very eager to visit Paris finishing his education as being one of the first men at the once female dominated Bunka Fashion College. He had grown up watching movies that featured Paris as the fashion capital of the world. Takada took a boat ride to Paris rather than flying since he was short on budget, and the immensely various fabrics, civilizations, and fashions he saw on trips to Africa, Asia, and India left a significant effect on him in a pre-wireless connection world.
Takada immediately ran out of money after he arrived in Paris. His answer was to go to haute couture houses and try to sell as much of his fashion illustrations, and since he knew that his style was unique, he instantly drew the attention of a few other designers, as well as Elle Magazine. These early accomplishments allowed him to generate funds and establish a network in the field, allowing him to know his way around until he established his own business a few years later.
The founder of KENZO has demonstrated in the years after that he had what it takes to think in new creative and innovative ways about areas other than fashion. He was an original user of the ready-to-wear production model, and he was one of the first fashion designers to release a fragrance line before it became a norm.