Before Kenzo, it was hard for many in the fashion world to imagine an Asian designer at the top of Paris haute couture. After Kenzo, Asian talent drawing inspiration from the East and beyond transformed the industry.
Japan-born Kenzo Takada, who died at age 81 on Oct. 4 near Paris, brought the roominess and boxiness of the kimono to contemporary clothing as well as bold floral designs and jungle prints. His models sometimes danced on the runway.
“My common theme was ‘freeing the body from clothing,’ ” Mr. Takada wrote in a series of autobiographical essays for the Nikkei newspaper published in December 2016 and later translated into English. “Rather than squeezing the body tightly, I wanted to make clothes that focused on the wearability of a loose silhouette.”