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Kenzo Takada "Was The Epitome of the Art Of Living"

A retrospective of the world-renowned designer who passed away due to Covid-19. 


Kenzo pictured with friends, taken from his archive (c) K-3

After COVID-related complications, Kenzo Takada passed away on October 4th 2020 at the American Hospital, Neuilly-sur-Seine in France, at the age of 81. The legacy he left is unmatched. 

Born into a family of seven children in the Japanese town of Himeji, Takada was passionate about drawing from a young age. He also admired his sister's sewing classes, a timid boy dreaming of one day creating his own works. 

A twist of fate brought him to Paris in 1965, where he planned to stay for six months. But he fell in love with the City of Light, regarding it as the symbol of elegance and luxury, and called Paris home for the rest of his life. He would become known as the first Japanese designer to establish himself in Paris, garnering international fame. 

After setting up his flagship KENZO in 1976, synonymous with brightly coloured flowers and geometric patterns, he ultimately sold the brand to LVMH by 1993. Takada departed from the brand in 1999.  

In January 2020 Takada launched K-3, a luxury brand dedicated to the art of living and opened a showroom in Saint-German-des-Pres. Alongside his partner and CEO Jonathan Bouchet Manheim and Engelbert Honorat, his creative assistant, the team of three set out to build what would be the designer's final legacy. 

Manheim said of his passing, "Kenzo Takada was incredibly creative, with a stroke of genius he imagined a new artistic and colourful story combining East and West, - his native Japan and his life in Paris. I had the chance to work alongside him for many years, always in awe, admiring his curiosity and his open-mindedness. He seemed quiet and shy at first but he was full of humour. He was generous and always knew how to look after the people close to his heart. He had a zest for life...Kenzo Takada was the epitome of the art of living."

Billionaire was fortunate to be granted one of Takada's last interviews, which ran in our print edition earlier this year. You can read it here.