Effective on the 20th of September, the founder of A Bathing Ape (Bape), Nigo, will assume the artistic director role at Kenzo — taking the helm of both women’s and men’s collections.
“I am very happy to welcome Nigo as the artistic director of the Maison KENZO. The arrival of an extremely talented Japanese designer will allow us to write a new page in the history of the House that Takada Kenzo founded. I am convinced that the creativity and innovation of Nigo, as well as his attachment to the history of the House, will fully express all the potential of KENZO”, said Sidney Toledano, chairman and CEO of the LVMH Fashion Group.
Besides succeeding Portuguese designer Oliveira Baptista, the appointment sees Nigo becoming the first Japanese designer in Kenzo since its founder. With sundry similarities to the late Kenzo Takada, besides nationality, Nigo feels like the appointment is kismet. “I was born in the year that Takada Kenzo san opened his first store in Paris,” said Nigo in a press statement. “We both graduated from the same fashion school in Tokyo. In 1993, the year that KENZO joined the LVMH Group, I started my career in fashion.” That was also the year when Nigo opened his first store in Tokyo.
Though the 50-year-old designer believes that his philosophy of creativity is parallel to the late designer, he feels the immense pressure of having to live up to high expectations. “Inheriting the spirit of Kenzo san’s craftsmanship to create a new KENZO is the greatest challenge of my 30-year career, which I intend to achieve together with the (Kenzo) team.” Long time friend and his co-partner for the Billionaire Boys Club brand — Louis Vuitton and Off-White designer Virgil Abloh and Pharrel Williams — stepped forward and congratulated the designer on Instagram. It is almost like a boost of encouragement.
With Nigo’s finesse in streetwear and years of experience in fashion melded with Kenzo’s penchant for exuberant prints, we are certain to be in for a treat come January 2022 during Paris Fashion Week, where the Japanese designer will showcase his debut collection.
(Header Image: KENZO x WWF Capsule Collection)