Images by Richard Haughton
There is such a simple pleasure in having the most perfect and well rounded collection of coffee table reads – and we’re always excited to add another fabulous fashion tome. To be sure, we have simply not been able to put down the new Kenzo Takada, from ACC Art Books.
Tracing the legendary namesake designer’s beginnings in the early 1970s, it recalls how he had already started shaking up the fashion world with the opening of his first boutique in Paris, under the name Jungle Jap. He came out swinging, with bold patterns and colors, and collections rooted in ethnic and nomadic influences. His clothing matched the quality of traditional European fashion houses, while still maintaining his connection to Japanese traditions; the garments were joyful and whimsical – challenging the conservatism of the traditional Paris couture houses.
With a signature style and look established, he founded the KENZO label, which conquered the universe of high fashion, while he also led the revolution into the world of mass marketing crossovers. (And where would we be now without H&M’s famous designer collabs?)
The book, written by Kazuko Masui and Chihiro Masui, shares the story of Takada’s rule-breaking and colorful journey as the force behind KENZO. Accompanying the entertaining text are pages upon pages of stunning photos and hand-colored sketches from the private archives of the designer himself. With images of high-energy runway shows, previously unpublished personal photographs, exclusive sketches, and behind-the-scenes looks at Takada’s grandest creations (that spectacular wedding dress!), the book truly showcases the energy, joy and lively spirit that was and is KENZO.
It’s topped off with a dazzling cover by the now 79-years-young designer, making it a stimulating visual experience from start to finish. To be sure, this is the comprehensive look at his career, creative process, and overall vision we’ve been waiting on for as long as we can remember.
Mr. Takada himself says it best: “For me, to create is to give pleasure and happiness to others, and to me the freedom to be myself.”