Kenzo Takada was born and educated in Japan, but Kenzo really began in Paris, 1964. Without the means to buy reams of fabric, Kenzo resorted to purchasing scraps of fabric at flea markets and mashing them together to create a single garment. Six years later, he presented his first show, his clothes scored the cover of Elle, and he opened a store in Paris called "Jungle Jap." It was the first fashion brand to successfully bridge the luxury of Paris with the sophistication of Tokyo, something that seems commonplace today.
The brand's wild and bold prints were hugely successful, and became the instant signature aesthetic of Kenzo. Along with Kansai Yamamoto, vivid kimono motifs were what defined the vibrant style coming out of Japan as it emerged in the '70s and '80s as a fashion powerhouse. The men's line was launched in 1983, and later stood in stark contrast to the monochromatic minimalism of other Japanese brands in the late '80s and '90s. The brand was recently turned over to Humberto Leon and Carol Lim who have undoubtedly re-positioned Kenzo as a coveted brand as evidenced by the Kenzo fitted caps, sweaters, and suits we've been seeing everywhere for a minute now.