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 identified for its multicultural ethos and power. Nigo, one of many first of the streetwear superstars and an in-demand collaborator with a number of manufacturers nice and good, was named inventive 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 inventive helm, and Mr. Takada’s demise 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 not too long ago grew to become a minority investor within the former Celine designer Phoebe Philo’s long-awaited solo label, and alerts 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 identified for his model A Bathing Ape, or Bape. He opened his first T-shirt shop in Japan in 1993, and his camouflage pattern helped vault him to streetwear fame: Before the lines appeared outside Supreme in New York, they formed in Tokyo outside Bape.
In a news release, Nigo pointed out that not only had he entered fashion the same year LVMH acquired Kenzo, but he was born in 1970, “the year that Takada Kenzo san opened his first store in Paris. We both graduated from the same fashion school in Tokyo.”
And like Kenzo, Nigo added, he has a view of creativity rooted in “understanding of many different cultures.” Taking over the brand, he said, will be the “greatest challenge of my 30-year career.”
Nigo started a new brand called Human Made in 2010, and in 2011 sold 90 percent of his Bape shares to the Hong Kong fashion conglomerate I.T., leaving the brand officially in 2013. Later he joined Uniqlo as creative director of the UT Collection.
His longtime practice of partnerships and capsule collaborations — founding Billionaire Boys Club and Icecream with Pharrell Williams, collaborating with Adidas, Coca-Cola, Mac Cosmetics, Kanye West and Kaws — gradually brought him into the fold of another avid collaborator: Virgil Abloh.
Indeed, Mr. Abloh told Vogue that Nigo was “among the first real mentors I had in fashion.” Little wonder that in late 2019, as Mr. Abloh settled into his role as artistic director of men’s wear at Louis Vuitton, he chose Nigo as his first official collaborator. Together they made large checkerboard-pattern tailored suits, and added a melting motif to clashing logo-plastered bags. LVMH executives took note.
That was when Kenzo was still being designed by Mr. Baptiste, who emphasized sustainable fabrics 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 brought contemporary pricing and a more streetwear vibe to the brand.)
Now, Sidney Toledano, LVMH Fashion Group chairman and chief executive, said in a statement, “The arrival of an extremely talented Japanese designer will allow us to write a new page in the history of the house that Takada Kenzo founded.”
Nigo is to start at Kenzo on Monday, one week before Paris Fashion Week begins.