For the primary time because the designer Kenzo Takada resigned from his namesake label Kenzo in 1999, a Japanese designer will as soon as once more run the Paris-based model recognized for its multicultural ethos and vitality. Nigo, one of many first of the streetwear superstars and an in-demand collaborator with a number of manufacturers nice and good, was named creative director of the home on Wednesday by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Kenzo’s guardian firm.
The announcement adopted the June departure of Felipe Oliveira Baptista, after simply two years on the model’s creative helm, and Mr. Takada’s loss of life from Covid-19 issues in 2020. It was a part of a spree of exercise by LVMH, which named a brand new designer at Pucci this month and lately grew to become a minority investor within the former Celine designer Phoebe Philo’s long-awaited solo label, and indicators the group’s elevated sensitivity towards the ability of hypebeast tradition.
Nigo, who like Kenzo’s founder makes use of only one title, is greatest recognized for his model A Bathing Ape, or Bape. He opened his first T-shirt store in Japan in 1993, and his camouflage sample helped vault him to streetwear fame: Earlier than the strains appeared exterior Supreme in New York, they fashioned in Tokyo exterior Bape.
In a information launch, Nigo identified that not solely had he entered trend the identical 12 months LVMH acquired Kenzo, however he was born in 1970, “the 12 months that Takada Kenzo san opened his first retailer in Paris. We each graduated from the identical trend college in Tokyo.”
And like Kenzo, Nigo added, he has a view of creativity rooted in “understanding of many alternative cultures.” Taking on the model, he mentioned, would be the “best problem of my 30-year profession.”
Nigo began a brand new model known as Human Made in 2010, and in 2011 offered 90 p.c of his Bape shares to the Hong Kong trend conglomerate I.T., leaving the model formally in 2013. Later he joined Uniqlo as inventive director of the UT Assortment.
His longtime apply of partnerships and capsule collaborations — founding Billionaire Boys Membership and Icecream with Pharrell Williams, collaborating with Adidas, Coca-Cola, Mac Cosmetics, Kanye West and Kaws — regularly introduced him into the fold of one other avid collaborator: Virgil Abloh.
Certainly, Mr. Abloh advised Vogue that Nigo was “among the many first actual mentors I had in trend.” Little surprise that in late 2019, as Mr. Abloh settled into his function as creative director of males’s put on at Louis Vuitton, he selected Nigo as his first official collaborator. Collectively they made giant checkerboard-pattern tailor-made fits, and added a melting motif to clashing logo-plastered baggage. LVMH executives took be aware.
That was when Kenzo was nonetheless being designed by Mr. Baptiste, who emphasised sustainable materials and a subdued aesthetic. (His predecessors, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, the taste-making founders of the boutique Opening Ceremony who ran Kenzo from 2011 to 2019, had introduced up to date pricing and a extra streetwear vibe to the model.)
Now, Sidney Toledano, LVMH Trend Group chairman and chief government, mentioned in a press release, “The arrival of a particularly gifted Japanese designer will permit us to write down a brand new web page within the historical past of the home that Takada Kenzo based.”
Nigo is to start out at Kenzo on Monday, one week earlier than Paris Trend Week begins.