Kenzo Takada adds an opera-style legacy

Paris – In the winter of 1964, Japan was still celebrating its first Tokyo Olympics, and Kenzo Takada slipped during a six-week trip to France. The 25-year-old young designer has achieved some success in his home, including winning the 1961 Soen Award and holding a designer position at Sanai Department Store.

Inspired by emerging high-end fashion designers at the time, such as Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, he chose to move to France and became one of the first Japanese designers to settle in Paris.

This is not easy. He had to overcome the prejudice described at the time as an Asian in the creative industry, and then gradually showed sketches to department stores, fashion journalists and galleries, which gradually attracted people’s attention and established a reputation, and eventually opened his own small in New York. Boutiques. 1970. Shortly after the launch of the first women’s collection, Takada’s kimono-style silhouette combined with vivid floral patterns spread from Paris to New York and Tokyo. His brand Kenzo expanded several collections in the 1980s – starting with the menswear collection, followed by the children’s collection, denim and perfume. Then in 1993, Kenzo was acquired by LVMH, and Takada left the brand on the 30th anniversary of its establishment in 1999.

Takada has officially retired from Kenzo for 20 years, but this does not mean that he has stopped creating. In 2004, he founded the lifestyle brand Gokan Kobo, which features cutlery, accessories and upholstery. In 2016, the French Constitutional Council awarded him the Knight of Medal of Honor in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a foreign designer. He stood out from the unremarkable work of France.

In 2017, Takada added the French furniture brand Roche Bobois’s Mah Jong Sofa to his work and decorated it with Japanese-style patterns. He also published illustrations with lifestyle writer Chihiro Masui. In February of this year, at his 80th birthday feast in Pavillon Ledoyen, he shocked the guests with his always young manners and stunning golden slim suits.

Takada’s latest project is still very busy, and his work has returned to Japan. From October 3rd to October 6th, the “Mayaa Butterfly” produced by the Tokyo Nikikai Opera Foundation in Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo will feature his costume design. The film is composed of Mari Moriya and Hiromi Omura as Cio-Cio-san, and will travel from Tokyo to Yokosuka in 2020 to Dresden in Germany.

Takata said in an interview with the Japan Times: “This is a challenging project to coordinate the clothing and director’s guidelines and the many components of the music.”

Designers naturally think of some aspects, such as looking for aesthetics to meet the needs of Japanese and European audiences – Takada’s Japanese designer Kawakubo, Yamamoto and Issey Miyake first introduced some pioneers before Paris Fashion Week.

The costume of the Madama Butterfly will feature a floral motif, while the surrounding characters will wear simple, soft-toned costumes to complement the heroine’s costume.

He talked about the design and said: “I want to respect the tradition as much as possible.” “I always think that the kimono looks very modern, maybe this may be an opportunity for some people to witness modernity, whether in Tokyo or Dresden.”

In recent years, an opera written by Giacomo Puccini in 1904 described the tragic love story between Japanese women and American lieutenant, but was criticized for its irrelevance and exoticism, but Takada Said: “I see this story as a love poem, what is true love?”

He added: “As a fashion designer, I tried to master Puccini’s narrative while at the same time portraying Japan’s spirituality as accurately as possible. It should make the audience dream and travel for the sake of it.”