AS DESIGNER KENZO RETIRES, HOUSE PROMISES CONTINUITY

PARIS — The house of Kenzo will issue a statement today, confirming what has been expected in fashion circles for months: Designer Kenzo Takada — known professionally simply as Kenzo — is retiring 30 years after launching his business.
A Kenzo party, announced for Oct. 7 following the designer’s last show for the house, will be a farewell to the designer as well as a celebration of the house’s 30th birthday.
“Kenzo was looking to move away from the day-to-day demands of putting out the collection,” explained house president Herve Martin.
The creative direction of the house will be handed over to designers Gilles Rosier and Roy Krebjerck for the women’s and men’s collections, respectively. Both have been working on these lines with Kenzo for several seasons and their promotions illustrate the house’s commitment to continuity, Martin said.
“What’s important is to be faithful to the brand,” he added. “These changes have been managed by and with Kenzo Takada.”
The appointments of Rosier and Krebjerck come despite rumors that Kenzo and its parent, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, were looking to plug in a highly publicized designer — Olivier Theyskens was rumored to be on the short list — as LVMH has done at other of its fashion houses.
Rosier has been working as a consultant with Kenzo on the women’s collections for three seasons.
Rosier will continue to design and produce his own ready-to-wear collection, but he will discontinue his design contracts with other businesses, including Lacoste, reportedly one of Rosier’s clients.
Rosier could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Kenzo staged his first fashion show in April 1970 at his boutique, called Jungle Jap, in the Galerie Vivienne here. He launched a men’s line in 1983, which became Kenzo Homme in 1987.
The more casual sportswear lines Kenzo Jeans and Kenzo Jungle were launched in 1986. The healthy Kenzo fragrance business, operated separately from the fashion company, dates to 1987.
Kenzo and Pierre Broc, who recently retired, launched the scent Kenzo de Kenzo a year later.
Now, there are six women’s fragrances, two men’s scents, the new duo fragrance Time for Peace and a color cosmetics line marketed only in Japan.
Kenzo Parfums does not disclose sales, but industry sources say the beauty business does $100 million worldwide.
The Kenzo businesses were acquired by LVMH in 1993 for $80.5 million.

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