Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada, famous for creating the world-renowned Kenzo brand, has died from complications linked to COVID-19 at the age of 81, according to his spokesman.
Takada was hospitalised at the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a residential suburb on the western outskirts of the French capital, the spokesman told several French media outlets on Sunday.
His death comes 50 years after he launched his first collection in Paris.
He retired from fashion in 1999, six years after selling his eponymous fashion brand to luxury conglomerate LVMH, and dedicated his time to one-off projects, including a design collection at the start of this year.
‘Paris is mourning’
Known especially for his signature floral prints, Takada came to France from his native Japan in 1965 by boat, landing in Marseille before making his way to Paris.
He had planned only a short stay in the city, but Paris eventually became his home. Takada created his first collection for women in 1970, his first show for men in 1983 and his first perfume, Kenzo Kenzo, in 1988.
“Paris is mourning one of its sons today,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter on Sunday.
LVMH’s Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault said in a statement that Kenzo had “infused into fashion a tone of poetic lightness and sweet freedom which inspired many designers after him”.
Ralph Toledano, chairman of France’s fashion federation, credited Takada with contributing to writing “a new page in fashion, at the confluence of the East and the West”.
To date, France has registered 629,509 confirmed coronavirus infections and 32,171 related deaths.
With cases spiking in recent days, authorities are expected to roll out new curbs in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. On Saturday alone, officials reported 16,972 new COVID-19 infections, the highest daily number since the country began widespread testing.