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Fashion designer Kenzo Takada dies of COVID-19

Fashion designer Kenzo Takada dies of COVID-19
Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada died in Paris, France, on Sunday. Photo by Eco Clement/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Famed Japanese designer Kenzo Takada of the Kenzo fashion house died in Paris on Sunday, his K 3 luxury brand said. He was 81.

"It is with great sadness that we have learned that our dear friend Kenzo Takada passed away today," the statement said. "He was an inspiring and prodigious creator and we were proud to collaborate with him and his exceptional team. We will always remember his smile and his joie de vivre."

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The cause of Takada's death was complications of the coronavirus, which he had been battling for a couple of weeks, both The New York Times and Japan's Kyodo News reported.

Felipe Oliveira Baptista, the artistic director of the Kenzo brand, mourned Takada's death in a statement, describing the designer's energy, kindness and talent as "contagious."

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"His kindred spirit will live forever," Baptista said. "Rest in peace, Master."

Born in Hyogo Prefecture in Western Japan, Takada moved to Paris in the mid-1960s and grew to become an established designer in the 1970s under his Kenzo fashion house, which he left in 1999 after it was acquired by luxury goods company LVMH.

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"Kenzo Takada has, from the 1970s, infused into fashion a tone of poetic lightness and sweet freedom, which inspired many designers after him," Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH, said in a statement. "The House he had established, Kenzo, still explores his vision."

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For his work, Takada has won numerous accolades and awards, and was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor in France in 2016.

"France brought me a lot, in terms of friendship, opportunities and joy," he said at that time. "The day I left Japan in 1964 for Paris, I thought it was for six months. My stay is still not over more than 50 years later."

Sylvie Colin, CEO of Kenzo, said Takada's optimism and zest for life are still pillars of the house he founded.

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"For half a century, Mr. Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry -- always infusing creativity and color into the world," she said in a statement. "He will be greatly missed and always remembered."

In Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo said her city on Sunday was mourning the death of one of its sons.

"What a creator!" she said on Twitter. "He had given color and light their place in fashion."

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Notable deaths of 2020

Richard "Dick" Thornburgh, former attorney general of the United States and former governor of Pennsylvania, takes a seat at the witness hearing after U.S. Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2005. Thornburgh died on December 31 at age 88. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

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