Kenzo Takada’s legacy remains, undoubtedly, as fresh as it was back in the day. He was the first Japanese designer to show in Paris in 1970 and splashed the establishment with textures, folklore, and volumes for an uncomplicated, light and casual way of life. He arrived to Paris five years earlier.
With his creations made with fabrics suitable for kimono making, he created an intimate language of using Japanese materials with an unexpected and unusual treatment for the time. Born in Himeji in post-war Japan, Takada entered the fashion world as one of the first male students in the prestigious Bunka Gauken College in Tokyo in 1958, a brave thing to do.
Working as a freelance illustrator in Paris the ‘capital of fashion’, he sold drawings to houses like Louis Féraud and ELLE Magazine -the covers came later- to stay ahead. But his journey really started when, knowing he could not compete with famous couturiers and big budgets of the time, he simply dared to be different, innovating and creating something really unseen.
In a modest corner on Galerie Vivienne, Jungle Jap was born, a modern fashion space, combining a boutique clothing offering with artistic happenings that changed, forever, the way a fashion store should be. In this context, Takada was creating the foundations of the contemporary ‘concept store’ as we know it today.
The mythical store interiors were inspired by the canvas ‘Le Rêve’ of Henri- le douanier- Rousseau, a fantasy jungle decor, exposed today in MoMA. With a special attention for colors, details, flowers and motifs, Kenzo understood all youth expectations, creating fashion’s according to the zeitgeist and establishing a very powerful visual trademark.