A Japanese pioneer in Paris

Breaking boundaries and having a sense of adventure is key to creative success, according to fashion legend Kenzo Takada.

Published Fri, Dec 12, 2014 · 09:50 PM
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WEARING his signature sunglasses, framing a barely lined face and a debonair streak of white in his hair, Kenzo Takada is the consummate Parisian gent. For the less well-versed in fashion history, it is almost impossible to imagine the blazer-wearing, soft-spoken septuagenarian as the same man who once sent a model on a white horse down the runway, or mixed Peruvian traditional costume with pret-a-porter.

It's only when he reveals that he was up till 2am the night before during a gala by the Asian Couture Federation, for which he was in town, that it's clear that here is someone who loves fashion and its colourful cast of characters. "Singaporeans love to dress up, everyone was bling-bling last night," says Mr Takada with glee, who laments that while the Japanese love their designer labels, they avoid going all out with their sartorial selections during upscale events.

After all, the 1970s fashion maverick was famed for melding Eastern, Western and a smorgasbord of other influences into over-the-top, statement-making creations. Before the Internet and the rise of cheap flights, Mr Takada was already making clothes for the global citizen, designing for the stylishly clad urban nomad.

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