Fashion Designer Kenzo Takada Has Died from COVID-19 Complications

Kenzo Takada, Japanese designer and founder of the global fashion brand Kenzo, has died from complications related to the coronavirus on Sunday (Oct. 4). He was 81.

The sad news was announced by a spokesperson for Takada's home and lifestyle brand K-3, which launched just last year. "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," a statement read, according to CNN.

Kenzo Takada

Takada's death comes 50 years after founding his label Jungle Jap, which later became known as Kenzo. He launched his first collection of designs swathed in bold colors and mismatched patterns in Paris during the 1970s, and he went on to open a flagship store in the city's Place des Victoires six years later.

In 1993, Takada's fashion empire — which also consisted of fragrance and menswear lines — was acquired by luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. He left the brand in 1999, but continued to lend his support to the creative departments.

“I was a fan of the brand in the Seventies when he started. I think he was a great designer,” said Sidney Toledano, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Fashion Group in an interview with WWD. “I’m very sad. He was a great guy.” The trailblazing designer attended the debut show of new creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista in February, but was too ill to make it to last week's spring 2021 runway.

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