Takada’s first collection was made entirely of cotton due to the lack of money to invest in materials. His style was to use vivid colors, conflicting motifs and was inspired by his trip from Japan to Paris. The series of products quickly ran out of stock, attracting the attention of Paris fashion lovers. Some time later, his oversized, body-free, wide-sleeve and zippered designs appeared on the cover of Elle, in the American Vogue magazine. Bernard Arnaul, chairman and CEO of LVMH, shared on The New York Times. Since the 1970s, Kenzo Takada has put in fashion a dreamy soft tone and sweet freedom, inspiring many of the designers after him. In the photo is a sketch of Takada from 1972.
In the 1970s, his business grew, making him the first Japanese designer to build a world-class brand. He said on SMCP he thought it would be pointless to do what the French designers are doing. Because he could not do like them. So he went his own way and became different.
He uses kimono fabric and things he loves. After his first show in 1971, international fashion editors became interested in him. Olivier Gabet, director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, told The New York Times Kenzo’s first fashion show was memorable. Gentle and playful, the models dance more than show clothes, far from the French couture.
The late 1970s and 1980s were the prime time for Takada. In 1978-1979, Takada held shows in a circus tent, riding elephants by himself while his models wore penetrating uniforms and rode horses. In 1983, he launched the men’s fashion line. In 1986, he introduced the jeans line and in 1998 introduced a perfume model.
For nearly 20 years, he has contributed to the fashion industry in many different ways. He designs costumes for operas in Paris and around the world. He created the Olympic uniform for the Japanese team in 2004. Kenzo released two fragrances with Avon, in partnership with Japanese eyewear maker Masunaga, launched the glasses series. He also painted and held exhibitions in Paris and Moscow.