‘Paris brought me a lot. My life started in Paris’,exclaimed the Honorary President of the Asian Couture Federation and legendary designer, Kenzo Takada at his ’50 years in Paris’ anniversary bash last year. He was the first Japanese designer to conquer Paris in big style, coming to the French capital in 1965 after attending the famous Bunka fashion college in Tokyo. In contrast to some other Asian designers, Kenzo was an instant hit when he showed his first spectacular collection in Paris in 1970. His designs were colourful and uncomplicated as the designer himself and were met immediately with enthusiastic reception.
This anniversary party held at the Pre Catalan in the Bois de Boulogne outside of Paris was very much reminiscent of his legendary fashion shows from 1978/79 that took place in giant circus tents and usually finishing with a horse-woman in transparent attire riding into the arena and Kenzo himself on the back of an elephant. At his anniversary bash there were also hundreds of guests, exotic flowers, butterflies and even elephants. It was very much 70s feel again evoking the era in fashion when a ‘flower child’ wearing a Kenzo dress from his very first collection graced the cover of ELLE magazine making the Japanese designer an instant, worldwide celebrity.
As much as his iconic boutique Jungle Jap was a meeting point for his celebrated clientele and collaborators this Parisian party gathered a number of his fellow designers and prominent members of the fashion industry such as Barbara Bui, Irié, Bruno Frisoni, Isabel Marant, Jérôme Dreyfuss as well as Chantal Thomass and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who did a collection with him in the Seventies.Photographers Oliviero Toscani, Dominique Issermann and muse Marpessa Hennink were also present at the do.
Many of his guests at the party recalled the grandiose Kenzo shows when Jerry Hall, Grace Jones and Inès de la Fressange carried his designs on the catwalk. There was also a touch of nostalgia in the air for those times as well for the designer who retired from the fashion business in 1999. The venue of the party reminded a number of his guests of Kenzo’s town house near the Bastille where he held his legendary fashion happenings throughout the 70s which was also a popular photo backdrop for a number of editorials and lifestyle articles.