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Kenzo's love for fashion developed at an early age, particularly through reading his sisters' magazines. He shortly attended Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, where he felt bored and eventually withdrew, against the will of his family. In 1958, he joined a fashion school, Tokyo's Bunka Fashion College, which had then just opened its doors to male students.
After earning his diploma, he settled in Paris in 1964. He was trying to gain a place in the fashion environment; attending shows, making contacts with the media and selling sketches.
Kenzo's first designs started because he could only afford to buy his fabrics from flea sales. As a result, Kenzo had to mix many bold fabrics together to make one garment.
Kenzo's success started in 1970: during this year he presented his first show at the Vivienne Gallery; his first store, "Jungle Jap" was opened; and one of his models appeared in the cover of ELLE. His collection was presented in New York and Tokyo in 1971. The next year, he won the Fashion Editor Club of Japan's prize. Kenzo proved his sense of dramatic appearance when, in 1978 and 1979, he held his shows in a circus tent, finishing with horsewomen performers wearing transparent uniforms and he himself riding an elephant.
His first men's collection was launched in 1983. In 1988, his women's perfume line began with Kenzo de Kenzo (now known as Ça Sent Beau), Parfum d'été, Le monde est beau and L'eau par Kenzo. Kenzo pour Homme was his first men's perfume (1991). FlowerbyKenzo, launched in 2000, has since become a flagship fragrance for the Kenzo Parfums brand. In 2001, a skincare line, KenzoKI was also launched.
Takada announced his retirement in 1999, leaving his assistants in charge of his fashion house. However, in 2005 he reappeared as a decoration designer presenting Gokan Kobo (五感工房 "workshop of the five senses"), a brand of tableware, home objects and furniture. After a few years off, he wanted to take a new direction, stating "when I stopped working five years ago, I went on vacation, I rested, I traveled. And when I decided to work again, I told myself it would be in decoration, more than fashion."
- Ella Alexander (8 March 2012). "Kenzo's New Era". Vogue. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- "Fashion Designers: Kenzo Takada". Modern Japan. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- "Paris-based designer Kenzo Tanaka back in the spotlight". sawfnews.com. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
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