Kenzo Takada, the iconic French-Japanese fashion designer famed for his jungle-infused designs, has died at the age of 81.
The family said in a statement to French media Sunday that Takada died from complications from COVID-19 in a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris.
“It is with immense sadness that KENZO has learned of the passing of our founder,” the fashion house said in a statement.
“For half a century, Mr. Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry — always infusing creativity and color into the world.”
Takada’s death came at the tail end of Paris Fashion Week.
Though Takada had been retired from his house since 1999 to pursue a career in art, Kenzo remains one of the most respected fixtures of high Paris fashion. Since 1993, the Kenzo brand has been owned by the French luxury goods company LVMH.
Takada was born on Feb. 27, 1939, in Himeji, in the Hyogo Prefecture in Japan to hoteliers, but after reading his sisters’ fashion magazines his love of fashion began.
Studying at the Bunka College of Fashion in Tokyo, Kenzo Takada had a brief stint working in Japan, before relocating to Paris in 1965, to work as a freelance designer.
Takada’s love of travel and use of ethnic influences were strong features in his three decades atop his house.
His contribution to style was significant. He championed a youthful aesthetic and unstructured form, and did away with zippers to liberate silhouettes. His signatures were of wider sleeves and arm holes, that harked to historic styles in his home continent of Asia.
Additional reporting by AP.