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Top 10 LGBT Fashion Designers of all Time


Here’s our take of our top 10 LGBT Fashion Designers of all Time , The list includes the greats like Patricia Field, Willi Smith, and Gianni Versace. Now as we all know, majority of LGBT designers have the most precise vision in the industry. And they go far beyond artistic measures to tell a story within there designs.  


1. Patricia Field


(Source www.patriciafield.com)

She is a native New Yorker and one of fashion's greatest visionaries whose multi-faceted career has spanned more than 5 decades. 

Field has received widespread critical praise for her pioneering vision of what constitutes style, a fashion philosophy that values eclecticism, creative expression and an understanding of oneself over the chasing of trends. 

 Her distinctive approach to dressing is evident through her work as a costume designer. Field single handedly changed the way women dress through the HBO series "Sex and the City" (arguably the most fashionable show in television history) and it's feature films. For her work on SATC Field won an Emmy Award and received five nominations for Best Costume Design, and with the help of a thrift store tutu created one of the most iconic onscreen NY fashion moments since Audrey Hepburn donned Givenchy for a stroll past Tiffany’s. Field also received an Academy Award nomination for ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, as well as continued recognition for her work on television series such as Ugly Betty, Hope & Faith, and most recently for Darren Star’s hit TV Land series ‘Younger’, starring Sutton Foster and Debi Mazar. Field is also a seasoned retailer, establishing her eponymous boutique in New York City in 1966, which remained a fashion landmark for 50 years. From its famed location on E 8th Street to its final residence on the Bowery, her store was a downtown institution, internationally known and frequented by celebrities, stylists, emerging designers, artists, performers, and club-kids alike. In 2016 Field sold her iconic retail property and launched a new concept, ARTFASHION. Born out of her long personal ties to New York art community legends like Keith Haring and Basquiat, ARTFASHION now sees Field as curator, working with an impressive group of today’s talented visual artists who, under Field’s guidance, have applied their unique aesthetics to hand painted one-of-a-kind clothing. Through her online gallery and shop patriciafield.com, Field continues to bring these sought after fashion creations to fashion fans around the world. 

2. Alexander McQueen


(Source Biography)

Alexander McQueen was born on March 17, 1969, in Lewisham, London. He became head designer of the Louis Vuitton-owned Givenchy fashion line and, in 2004, launched his own menswear line. He earned the British Fashion Council's British Designer of the Year award four times, and was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire. McQueen committed suicide in 2010, shortly after the death of his mother.

Fashion designer. Lee Alexander McQueen was born on March 17, 1969 into a working-class family living in public housing in London's Lewisham district. His father, Ronald, was a cab driver, and his mother, Joyce, taught social science. On their small incomes, they supported McQueen and his five siblings. McQueen, called "Lee" by his friends for most of his life, recognized his homosexuality at an early age and was teased extensively about it by schoolmates. At age 16, McQueen dropped out of school. He found work on Savile Row, a street in London's Mayfair district famous for offering made-to-order men's suits. He worked first with the tailor shop Anderson and Shephard, and then moved to nearby Gieves and Hawkes.

McQueen decided to further his clothes-making career, and moved on from Savile Row. McQueen began working with theatrical costume designers Angels and Bermans. The dramatic style of the clothing he made there would become a signature of his later independent design work. McQueen then left London for a short stint in Milan, where he worked as a design assistant to Italian fashion designer Romeo Gigli. Upon his return to London, he enrolled at Central Saint Martin's College of Art & Design, and received his M.A. in fashion design in 1992. The collection he produced as the culminating project of his degree was inspired by Jack the Ripper, and was famously bought in its entirety by the well-known London stylist and eccentric Isabella Blow. She became a long-time friend of McQueen, as well as an advocate for his work.

Soon after obtaining his degree, Alexander McQueen started his own business designing clothes for women. He met enormous success with the introduction of his "bumster" pants, so named because of their extremely low-cut waistline. Only four years out of design school, McQueen was named Chief Designer of Louis Vuitton-owned Givenchy, a French haute couture fashion house. 

Although it was a prestigious job, McQueen took it reluctantly, and his tenure there (from 1996 to 2001) was a tumultuous time in the designer's life. Even as he was pushing the limits of what people expected from fashion (one of his shows featured a model who was an amputee walking the runway on carved wooden legs), McQueen felt he was being held back. He would later say that the job "constrain[ed] his creativity." However, he also made the following admission: "I treated Givenchy badly. It was just money to me. But there was nothing I could do: the only way it would have worked would have been if they had allowed me to change the whole concept of the house, to give it a new identity, and they never wanted me to do that." Even with his reservations about his work, McQueen won British Designer of the year in 1996, 1997, and 2001, all during his time at Givenchy.

In 2000, Gucci bought a 51 percent stake in Alexander McQueen's private company, and provided the capital for McQueen to expand his business. McQueen left Givenchy shortly thereafter. In 2003, McQueen was declared International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and A Most Excellent Commander of the British Empire by the Queen of England, and won yet another British Designer of the Year honor. Meanwhile, McQueen opened stores in New York, Milan, London, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. With the help of Gucci's investment, McQueen had become even more successful than he was before. 

Already known for the flare and passion of his shows, McQueen produced even more interesting spectacles after leaving Givenchy. For example, a hologram of model Kate Moss floated ethereally at the showing of his 2006 Fall/Winter line.

Alexander McQueen was also known for not being shy about his lack of traditional good looks or his lower class background. One acquaintance described that during a first encounter, McQueen was "wearing a lumberjack shirt with the most low-class kind of schlubby-looking jeans falling down with a long key chain...[and was] quite podgy." Another friend said that his teeth "looked like Stonehenge." According to those who knew him closely, McQueen was proud of breaking the traditional mold of a successful designer.

In 2007, the specter of death would come to haunt McQueen, first with the suicide of Isabella Blow. The designer dedicated his 2008 Spring/Summer line to Blow, and said that her death "was the most valuable thing I learnt in fashion." Just two years later, on February 2, 2010, McQueen's mother died. One day before her funeral, on February 11, 2010, McQueen was found dead in his Mayfair, London apartment. The cause of death was determined to be suicide. Alexander McQueen's rise from lower-class high school dropout to internationally famous designer is a remarkable story. His bold styles and fascinating shows inspired and wowed the world of fashion, and his legacy lives on. Longtime co-designer Sarah Burton took over the still-operating Alexander McQueen brand, and McQueen's contribution to fashion was honored by a 2011 exhibition of his creations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. 

3. Willi Smith


(Source Wikipedia)

Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and studied commercial art at Mastbaum Technical High School and attended Philadelphia College of Art for fashion illustration. He then moved to New York City to go to Parsons The New School for Design, the art and design college of The New School. 

In 1967, Smith quit Parsons to pursue a career designing on his own. In 1969, he designed a label for Digits, a sportswear company. In 1973, Smith, along with his sister Toukie Smith, founded their own clothing company that soon failed. Smith continued to design and in 1976, he went into business with Laurie Mallet and called the company "WilliWear Limited." He designed the wedding dress worn by Mary Jane Watson when she married Peter Parker in the Spider-Man comic book and comic strip in 1987,[3] and the suits for Edwin Schlossberg and his groomsmen when he married Caroline Kennedy in 1986. Smith also designed the uniforms for the workers on Christo's 1985 wrapping of the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris and clothes for Spike Lee's film School Daze (1987). Smith worked with many other designers and artists during his time at WilliWear including Antthony Mark Hankins, James Mischka, Julia Santos-Solomon, Jon Coffelt, John Bartlett and Andre Walker, among many others. Smith partnered with Jhane Barnes on some of his earlier shows. Smith was the costume designer for Secret Pastures, which premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival in 1984, one of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company's first major works. 

On April 16, 1987, Smith was admitted to Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City after contracting shigella and pneumonia while on a fabric buying trip to India in February 1987. He died of pneumonia complicated by shigella the following day at the age of 39. According to Smith's lawyer Edward Hayes, Smith's death was AIDS related. Smith was apparently unaware that he had contracted the disease and had shown no symptoms. It was only after he was hospitalized that tests revealed he was HIV positive. 

Laurie Mallet, Smith's business partner, later said that while the designer was always "fragile" and often too sick to work, she did not feel that he was seriously ill. When asked if Smith had any idea that he had AIDS, Mallet said that Smith never confided this to her, but she felt "maybe he had some idea, some feeling."Smith's funeral was held on April 20 at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel in Manhattan, after which his remains were cremated. On May 1, 1987, a memorial service was held for Smith at his alma mater, Parsons The New School for Design. Smith, who was openly gay, has a panel in the original NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Smith is also lamented in a poem "Speak: A Poem for the Millennium March", by Keith Boykin, read by its author for the Millennium March on Washington for Equality on April 29, 2000.

His company, WilliWear Limited, launched in 1976 and would go on to sell $25 million worth of clothing a year. After Smith's death, his business partner continued the line with various designers creating collections. Without Smith, the company floundered. Due to financial problems and poor sales, WilliWear Limited ceased production in 1990.

4. Gianni Versace


(Source Biography)

Fashion designer Gianni Versace was born on December 2, 1946, in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. He was raised in the world of design, learning his trade at the hands of a mother who ran her own dressmaking business. Versace went to work for his mother after completing high school. In 1972, Versace moved to Milan, where he began freelance designing for Italian labels Genny, Callaghan and Complice. Versace launched his own ready-to-wear collection for women in 1978. The business was always a family affair, with his brother Santo and sister Donatella working for him.

The Versace Style Versace became known for his glamorous styles, producing a range of siren dresses that became his trademark. He often used innovative materials such as aluminum mesh or cutting-edge techniques like "neo-couture" laser technology to fuse leather and rubber. The head of Medusa was also a recurring image on many of his clothing items and accessories. He launched his first couture collection in 1989 and added two clothing lines, Versus and Instante, to his business in the '90s.

Elizabeth Hurley Versace Dress One of his most famous creations was a black dress held together at the sides by gold safety pins; worn by Elizabeth Hurley at a movie premiere in 1994; the dress helped make the actress a star. Versace developed strong relationships with a number of stars and supermodels, including Elton John, Madonna and Naomi Campbell. As Anna Wintour told The New York Times, Versace "was the first to realize the value of celebrity in the front row, and the value of the supermodel, and put fashion on an international media platform." 

He was also one of the foremost designers who showed the power of bringing the fashion and music world together. Versace's illustrious career was decorated with numerous awards, including four L'Occhio d'Oros and an American Fashion Oscar in 1993. Some of his most imaginative creations could be found in theaters; the designer was often applauded for his costume designs for such ballets as Richard Strauss' Josephlegende in 1982, Gustav Mahler's Lieb und Leid in 1983 and Bejart's Chaka Zulu in 1989. In 1987, Versace was awarded the Maschera D'Argento prize for his contributions to theater. He also created stage costumes for such pop performers as Elton John, Madonna and Tina Turner.

Expanding the Versace Empire Versace's designs have been showcased in several museums, including Chicago's National Field Museum, London's Royal College of Art, Japan's Kobe City Museum and Germany's Kunstgewerbemuseum. In addition to clothing, the designer expanded his brand in other directions. He launched his classic Signature fragrance line in 1991 and his line of furniture and home goods in 1993. Versace also published numerous books, including Rock and Royalty, The Art of Being You and Men Without Ties. 

Versace was only 50 years old when he was murdered outside his South Beach home in Miami, Florida, on July 15, 1997. The beloved fashion designer was gunned down by 27-year-old spree killer Andrew Cunanan, who was found dead in a Miami Beach boathouse eight days later. Versace was survived by his longtime partner Antonio D'Amico. The couple even worked together, with D'Amico designing for the Versace Sport line. 

As of 2017, the brand and company has been valued at $1.7 billion. At the time of his death, Versace had a 50 percent stake in his company, which would've given him a personal net worth of about $800 million today. 

5. Patrick Kelley 


(Source, Philamuseum)

“I want my clothes to make you smile”—that was the goal of late African American designer Patrick Kelly in creating his bold, bright, and joyful creations. Kelly achieved this on the streets, nightclubs, and runways of New York, Paris, and beyond in the heady, inventive, and often-subversive urban milieu of the 1980s. 

Runway of Love is an expansive retrospective showcasing some eighty ensembles that were recently presented to the Museum as a promised gift by Kelly’s business and life partner, Bjorn Guil Amelan, and Bill T. Jones. Kelly’s designs are complemented by selections from the artist’s significant collection of black memorabilia, videos of his exuberant fashion shows, and photographs by renowned artists including Horst P. Horst, Pierre et Gilles, and Oliviero Toscani. Kelly’s early signature creations—skinny, body-conscious dresses with colorful buttons—attracted the attention of French Elle, which featured the designer’s first commercial collection in February 1985. 

His aesthetic developed out of his African American and Southern roots and knowledge of fashion and art history, as well as from the club and gay cultural scenes in New York and Paris. Kelly’s work pushed racial and cultural boundaries with golliwog logos, Aunt Jemima bandana dresses, and his ubiquitous black baby-doll brooches. His playful looks were inspired by his muse, Josephine Baker, and admiration for couturiers Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Yves Saint Laurent, among others.

Patrick Kelly was born and raised in Mississippi by his mother and his grandmother, who helped foster his love of fashion by bringing him fashion magazines. He moved to Paris in late 1979, and in 1988 became the first American and the first black designer to be voted into the prestigious Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, the French fashion industry association and standards organization. Kelly's brilliant vision and career were cut short by AIDS, to which he succumbed on January 1, 1990. 

6. Christian Siriano


(Source, Wikipedia)

Siriano first gained attention after winning the fourth season of American design competition show Project Runway, becoming the series' youngest winner. He launched his namesake "Christian Siriano" collection in 2008, which brought in revenue of over $1.2 million by 2010 and was estimated to have reached $5 million by 2012. 

Siriano was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland where he spent a year at Broadneck Senior High School before transferring to Baltimore School for the Arts, The school allowed Siriano to choose fashion design as his course of study. 

He began designing clothes at age thirteen, while working as a hair washer and styling assistant at Bubbles Salon in Annapolis, and eventually began sewing clothes for the salon's annual hair shows. 

After being rejected by the Fashion Institute of Technology, Siriano chose to study abroad at American InterContinental University in London, England. Following the recommendation of a teacher during his senior year, he began interning at Vivienne Westwood, and later, at Alexander McQueen, who Siriano has stated is his favorite designer. Siriano moved to New York City after graduating from college. 

After Winning Project Runway, Siriano's eponymous fashion line, Christian Siriano, debuted at New York Fashion Week on September 13, 2008. His collection is retailed at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. In 2010, Siriano was named one of Crain's Top 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40, which reported that his line had brought in over $1.2 million in revenue as of 2010. In 2012 the New York Times reported that revenue was estimated around $5 million. In September 2012, the first Christian Siriano flagship store was opened on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan's Nolita neighborhood. The store launch included celebrity guests like Heidi Klum, Allison Williams from HBO series Girls, stylist Brad Goreski, and DJs The Misshapes. Siriano launched his first fragrance in early 2014.

In July 2016, after comedian Leslie Jones commented that several designers had refused to dress her for the premiere of Ghostbusters, Siriano offered to design a gown for her.  Michelle Obama wore a royal blue dress designed by Siriano for the speech she made at the Democratic National Convention on July 25, 2016. 

7. Stephen Burrows


(Source, Getty Images; Thehistorymakers)

Fashion designer Stephen Burrows was born on September 15, 1943 in Newark, New Jersey to Gerald Burrows and Octavia Pennington. At a very young age, Burrows started sewing and making clothes under the guidance of his grandmother, Beatrice Simmons. He went on to attend elementary school in Newark, New Jersey, and graduated from Arts High School in 1960. Burrows then attended the Philadelphia Museum College of Art from 1961 to 1962, and later graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in 1966. Upon graduation, Burrows was hired as a fashion designer for Weber Originals, but decided to work freelance in 1967. In 1968, he co-founded O Boutique in New York City. The following year, Burrows launched a ready-to-wear collection for the upscale department store Bonwit Teller with his friend Roz Rubenstein. In 1969, Burrows was introduced to Geraldine Stutz, president of the Henri Bendel department store, and was hired and offered his own boutique called Stephen Burrows World. The success of Stephen Burrows World was immediate, and allowed Burrows to cater to celebrity clientele such as Diana Ross, Cher and Barbra Streisand. In 1973, he left Bendel’s, founded Burrows, Inc., and began working on New York’s Seventh Avenue. That same year, Burrows was one of five American designers invited to show his clothes on the runway of Versailles, France, where he received rave reviews. He became the first African American designer to gain international fame. In 1977, Burrows returned to Henri Bendel and joined Pat Tennant, Inc., but left again in 1982. In 1993, he became affiliated once more with Bendel’s, and in 2002, reopened Stephen Burrows World. In 2010, Burrows designed a collection for Target retail stores and opened a showroom and design studio in New York City’s garment center. In 2013, he became designer and president of Stephen Burrows, LTD. Burrows has been honored with three Coty American Fashion Critics’ Awards, the highest praise that can be awarded in fashion. In 1975, he received the Council of American Fashion Critics Award and the Knitted Association Crystal Ball Award. He was named to the Fashion Walk of Fame in 2003 and received the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Board of Directors Special Tribute Award in 2006. In 2014, Burrows was honored with lifetime achievement awards from the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Pratt Institute of Design. 

8. Oliver Rousteing


(Source, Business Of Fashion)

Appointed to the helm of Balmain in 2011 at the age of 24, Olivier Rousteing was the youngest creative director in Paris since Yves Saint Laurent . Known for his engagement with social media, the designer has over four and a half million followers on Instagram, making him the most followed French designer on the platform. The French-born designer grew up in Bordeaux, moving to Paris to study at Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode. Graduating in 2003, he began his career as a designer at Roberto Cavalli , quickly climbing the ranks to become head of the brand’s womenswear division. Rousteing was hired by Balmain in 2009 as a women’s ready-to-wear designer, and worked very closely with the house’s then creative director Christophe Decarnin who became something of a mentor to him. When Decarnin stepped down from the helm in April 2011, Rousteing was appointed his successor, becoming the second-youngest designer to head up an established French fashion house. Alain Hivelin, Balmain’s then chairman and majority owner, who passed away at the end of 2014, was responsible for the rapid rise of Decarnin’s relatively-unknown protégé. Today, Rousteing is focusing his ambitions for the house through the lens of his late mentor’s legacy. “His dream was to make Balmain international; a global, strong and powerful empire,” the designer told BoF. “My goal with Balmain today is actually to make his dream come true. My goal in the next years is making sure that the name of the brand is something that every continent will know.” Rousteing uses Instagram to interact with his “Balmain Army” – a force of strong, internationally famous women including Kendall Jenner , Gigi Hadid , Kim Kardashian West and Rosie Huntington Whiteley. Whilst these women have all appeared in Balmain campaigns, Rousteing’s personal relationships with them, partially broadcast on social media, have become just as – if not more – integral to the international growth of the company, and the emergence of a contemporary Balmain. The French designer is consistently inspired by the strength of women, and aims to empower them with his bold designs. “A woman who is going to wear Balmain is a warrior,” he told British Vogue. “The women I dress are powerful, they are strong, they are women who are going to change the world.” Rousteing is also a strong advocate for diversity within the fashion industry, a mantra that chimes well with his international customer base. Rousteing is himself an inspiration to a number of aspiring designers, who, until recently, lacked a successful mixed-race role model. In May 2017 Rousteing announced that Balmain and L'Oréal Paris were collaborating on a collection of lipsticks that he had designed himself. He cited the partnership as an opportunity to make Balmain accessible to a wider audience. “I'm really close to luxury but at the same time I'm also close to pop culture and I think a lot of people who may love the Balmain universe can't afford the clothes,” he told BoF. “The collaboration with L'Oréal Paris opens up luxury in a different way.” 

9. Richie Rich


(Source, Getty Images; Wikipedia)

Richard J. Eichhorn, better known by his stage name Richie Rich, is an American fashion designer, socialite, television personality, figure skater and singer. Born in California, Rich began his career as a figure skater touring with the entertainment show Ice Capades. He first rose to prominence in the 1990s, as a part of the group of club personalities, Club Kids, after becoming a fixture on the New York City club scene, alongside Amanda Lepore and others. 

In 1999, Rich and Traver Rains founded the fashion company, Heatherette. After being discovered by Patricia Field, the brand became a household name. 

Rich was born in California. At the age of 12, his family relocated to San Jose, California where he began studying theater and competing in figure skating training under renowned coach, Christy Ness. After a year of college, Rich signed on to tour, skating with the Ice Capades. In 1993, he moved to New York City. In the mid-1990s, Rich was a staple in the New York City Club Kids scene, and he made a cameo appearance in the film Party Monster (2003). Rich was also featured as one of the Club Kids on the Joan Rivers Show, Phil Donahue Show, and Geraldo. Rich promoted and hosted parties at such nightclubs as The Limelight, Club USA, and Tunnel. He also assisted and toured with the "Nightlife Queen", Susanne Bartsch. During this period Rich released two "club" singles, "MAGIC" and "Collision", and toured throughout Europe and Japan. As a hobby, Rich would create "looks" for himself and fellow Club Kids of glittery embellished designs. He then met future co-designer, Traver Rains, and the duo founded the fashion brand Heatherette. Heatherette was launched in 2001, with a runway show during New York Fashion Week featuring a video by famed photographer, David LaChapelle, starring Amanda Lepore for a collaboration with MAC Cosmetics. Heatherette went on to show as a part of the official New York Fashion Week 16 times over a period of nine years, featuring well-known models and celebrities such as: Naomi Campbell, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Kelly Osbourne, Boy George, Anna Nicole Smith, Mýa, Kim Kardashian, Jake Shears, Lydia Hearst, Tinsley Mortimer, Devon Aoki, Alek Wek, Bridget Hall, Liya Kebede, Cintia Dicker, Lily Cole, Theodora Richards, Miranda Kerr, Tiiu Kuik, Heather Marks, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Anouck Lepere, Chanel Iman, Raquel Zimmermann, among many others.[citation needed] Heatherette also showed around the world in other fashion weeks, including: Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Moscow, Osaka, and Tokyo.[citation needed] Heatherette has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Time, Newsweek, Glamour, Elle, People, Paper, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Trace, W, WWD, New York Times, and others.[citation needed] Heatherette has dressed such celebrities as Aerosmith, Mariah Carey, Pamela Anderson, Gwen Stefani, David Beckham, Pink, and Miley Cyrus. In 2010 and 2011, Rich went on to launch two collections funded by former business partner and fashion executive Keri Ingvarsson, including a line called "Popluxe", which debuted at Lincoln Center during New York's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, with a guest runway appearance by Ellen DeGeneres. The second collection, called "Villionaire", premiered at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom with runway appearances by Johnny Weir and MTV's JWoww. Rich also showed a line in the Waldorf Astoria New York Ballroom, titled "Richie Rich", with a guest appearance by Pamela Anderson. They launched a fashion tour, titled A*muse, in New Zealand, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Miami, and Chicago. 

10. Kenzō Takada


(Source, Fashionista; Vogue) 

Kenzo Takada is a Japanese fashion designer, best known for his eponymous label Kenzo. Born in Himeiji, Japan, in 1940 to traditional innkeeper parents, his interest in fashion developed at an early age through reading his sister's magazines. Aged 18, following the wishes of his parents, he attended the University of Kobe to study literature. Dissatisfied and bored with the course, he left for Tokyo's Bunka Fashion College - against his parents' wishes - where he was one of the first male students to be admitted.

In 1960, he won the prestigious Soen prize and began working for the Sanai department store as a designer of girl's clothing, making up to 40 styles every month.

In 1964, Kenzo moved to Paris. He took some time to settle in, but eventually he started sketching. The revolutionary new outfits by Courreges were the inspiration for a series of 30 designs he made, five of which were accepted by designer Louis Feraud.

Over the next few years, he worked for various department stores, the Pisanti textile group and Relations Textiles. He opened his first boutique in 1970. Called Jungle Jap, it was housed in a former antique clothing store at the Gallerie Vivienne that Kenzo renovated himself. It was also the venue of his first show. The shop later moved to 28 Passage Choiseul in Paris' 2e arrondissement, where his clothes started attracting more attention.

His designs featured in American Vogue in 1971, where his smock tent dresses, oversized dungarees, enlarged armholes, original shoulder shapes and unique store were slated by the publication as the next development in the Paris boutique 

scene. His first men's collection was launched in 1983.

In 1988, his women's perfume line began with Kenzo de Kenzo, Parfum d'été, Le monde est beau and L'eau par Kenzo. His first men's fragrance, Kenzo pour Homme, in 1991. FlowerbyKenzo, launched in 2000, and has since become a flagship fragrance for the Kenzo Parfums brand. In 2001, a skincare line, KenzoKI was also launched. In 1993, his label was bought by LVMH. Kenzo Takada announced his retirement in 1999, leaving his assistants in charge of his fashion house.

In 2003, Italian designer Antonio Marras joined the brand and was named creative director in December 2008.

In 2005, Kenzo turned to a different type of design by launching Gokan Kobo, a brand of tableware, home objects and furniture. It was announced in July 2011, that Marras would leaving his creative directorship at Kenzo and be succeeded by Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the duo behind cult US clothing store Opening Ceremony. "Kenzo, as a brand, has such a rich and fascinating history, it can be hard to determine what exactly we have changed," Leon told us after a year at the helm. "With our new collections, we hope that we have injected the brand with a youthful spirit and a sense of fun and cheekiness. But we also want to respect and preserve the traditions of the Kenzo house, such as the importance of prints and the sense of worldliness and travel that has been intrinsic to every collection in the history of Kenzo." 

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