By  on December 16, 2004

MILAN — Kenzo Takada describes his first beachwear collection under the Gokan Kobo label as a “happy, joyful” collection for “12 months of sun.”

Takada joined forces earlier this year with the Italian silk manufacturer Ratti, which is  known for its colorful prints and its long-standing relationship with fashion designers such as Versace, Valentino and Gianfranco Ferré, to produce and distribute his new line.

Under the terms of the three-year license, Ratti will deliver a finished product and not merely supply the fabrics. “A year ago, I was called in to oversee a new finished product division for fashion and accessories,” said Bertrand Thiry, director of the division, during an interview at the Ratti headquarters outside Como, an hour’s drive from Milan. “We created this division to meet our clients’ requests for finished products.” Ratti also produces and distributes Gokan Kobo’s tie and scarf line as well as Leonard’s swimsuit collection. 

“Ratti immediately understood what I had in mind, and were happy to start on this new adventure,” said Takada, who is based in Paris.

After an initial production of ties and scarves for fall 2004, Ratti will deliver the Gokan Kobo beach and accessories collection, due to bow for spring 2005, in January. The swimwear line includes three bikinis and four one-piece swimsuits developed in patterns such as florals, tie-dye and stripes, as well as ethnic Asian and African designs and animal prints. It also has cotton boxy shirts and pareos and viscose T-shirts in the same patterns. Thiry noted that the designer wanted very simple pieces that focused on proportions and fit. “This is a mix-and-match collection, with colors and patterns that can be easily combined,” said Thiry.

Takada launched the Gokan Kobo label in March, following his retirement four years ago from the Kenzo house he founded, now owned by LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and designed by Antonio Marras. Gokan Kobo in Japanese means “study of the five senses,” and the brand’s logo is Takada’s family seal: a five-petal campanula. Each petal corresponds to a separate division: Touch, the ties and scarf collection also produced by Ratti; beachwear; ready-to-wear; home, and a fragrance. Takada is still fine-tuning production of rtw, home and fragrance. A brand store is scheduled to open early next year in Paris.

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