You are cordially invited to the 40th anniversary party for Kenzo—the brand, the designer, the start of a new era in fashion—even though it began 40 years ago.
There are few books that can be described as exquisite, let alone informative, and yet this celebration is all of that and more.
Kenzo must first be spoken of in terms of the physical book—unlike anything this reviewer has ever seen in any bookstore. The cloth-covered volume includes multi-page foldouts, several of which fold out to be poster sized. There is also one unbelievable pop-up rivaling even the most extravagant of art publication 3-D art, on par with the most complicated of pop-ups by of Ron Van Der Meer, Robert Sabuda, and David A. Carter.
All of this is printed with crystal clear clarity on wonderfully thick stock that compares with the best in fine art books. These elements alone make this book a must have for anyone who can appreciate the art of fashion in all of its unrestrained glory.
Aside from the visual extravaganza, Kenzo provides all the historical, need-to-know information on Kenzo Takada and his successor, Antonio Marras.
Kenzo began his journey in 1970 with an unsurpassed collection that burst upon the fashion scene in Paris. With the opening of his store, Jungle Jap, he invited everyone to see fashion through his eyes. The fashion world of Paris, long known for its serious approach to all things fashion, was about to experience an explosion of color, pattern, humor, youth, and an exuberance that had not existed before. Kenzo Takada singlehandedly founded a brand that he grew into an empire within the 30 years he reigned as its head designer.
Enter the successor to the king in 2000, Antonio Marras. His job was to retain what was started as a young man’s dream and carry it into a new century—all the while maintaining its relevance to an ever-changing global audience. Mr. Marras has, for the most part, successfully carried the torch for the namesake designer even while bravely carving his own name into the DNA of the brand.
If fashion is as cyclical as we think it is, then there is about to be another explosion waiting in the wings for the next generation of “fashionistas.” Kenzo will serve as an example of the joy that can be generated in fashion by the young designers who will turn convention on its ear and make names for themselves by not trying to be “me too,” but by insisting, “Look at me!”
For it is in this spirit of innovation and joy that Kenzo was founded and flourished—and we would all be better off to remember that this exuberance can generate and sustain many future generations of designers willing to take a chance like Kenzo and Marras.