TOP PRIZE: Kenzo Takada was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 55th Fashion Editors’ Club of Japan Awards ceremony in the Japanese capital on Wednesday. Hiromichi Ochiai, of streetwear brand Facetasm, was granted the designer of the year prize.

Takada had received accolades by the club twice previously, in 1972 and 1999, the year he retired from his fashion house. While the 78-year-old designer has called Paris home for over half a century, he made the trip to Japan to accept his award. Takada spoke briefly about his plans for the future.

“I’m getting older, so I don’t think I’ll do the same job [I used to do] again. But I would like to work with people from different countries, with different young people, in various areas other than fashion, such as lifestyle and perfume. Even if it’s just a little bit, I would like to keep working,” Takada said. “And in a personal sense, because I’ve been removed from Japan since a fairly young age, I feel like I don’t know Japan very well. So while I can still get around, I’d like to make some time to increase the number of trips I make back to Japan and to stay here longer. I want to see and learn more about Japanese culture and lesser-known places in Japan. My most fun project right now is discovering Japan.”

Takada also had a few words of advice for younger Japanese designers, such as Ochiai.

“Even though I’m in Paris, I often hear about young Japanese designers who are quite active. But because I’m in Paris, it’s just something I hear. I can’t really see it for myself,” Takada said. “And another thing I’ve noticed lately is that young Japanese people, including young designers, aren’t going abroad as much. When I hear things like that I think it’s a bit sad. I think if young designers have decided on a goal or dream, they should go overseas when they’re younger. Actually being able to experience different things with the five senses really provides great inspiration. I also want them to take more risks while they’re young, and to work hard in a more international way.”

For his part, Ochiai said he was honored to be chosen to receive an award that had been given to so many great designers previously, and that it motivated him to work even harder. In addition to Takada, previous recipients of the designer of the year award include Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, Chitose Abe, Marc Jacobs, Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld.

Some years have included an international designer of the year award as well, with past recipients including Christopher Bailey, Frida Giannini and Stefano Pilati. This year that honor went to Alessandro Michele of Gucci, who was not able to accept the award in person, but instead sent in a recording of his thanks.

The FECJ was started in 1952 and includes some 40 members. Due to financial constraints on the industry, this year was the first time since 2010 that the awards were given out and a ceremony was held.

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