Kenzo, Spring 1999
Takada was one of seven children and developed an interest in
fashion through reading the magazines of his sisters. Born in
Himeiji City, Hyogo Prefecture, he quit Kobe University to try
to become one of the first male students at Tokyo's Bunka Fashion
College (Bunkafukuso Gakuin). His parents did not approve of his
career ambitions and he had to work part-time in Tokyo to support
himself while he did evening prep courses in design. After some
six months, he was finally accepted to the prestigious college
and the kind of determination that got him there was to serve
him well in the future.
In 1964, Takada moved to Paris and started at the very bottom
of the fashion industry ladder. After making enough contacts,
he worked as a freelance designer and opened his first boutique
'Jungle Jap' in 1970.
Takada's first work borrowed heavily from traditional Japanese
styles but it was his 'big silhouette' designs which drew worldwide
attention. His designs made him something of a trendsetter for
young fashion. In Japan, he is highly regarded as a pioneer who
introduced Japanese fashion design to a world audience. Always
very selective of his fabric, Takada in recent years has moved
into the design of furniture coverings and household items. In
September 1999, he announced that he was handing over the reins
of his fashion house to his assistants.