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Kenzo names Nigo as its new artistic director

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Nigo, Image via LVMH Press Office

LVMH-owned luxury label Kenzo has named Japanese fashion designer Nigo as its new artistic director.

Nigo, best known as the founder of streetwear brand A Bathing Ape, will join Kenzo on September 20 and is expected to unveil his debut collection in 2022.

Sidney Toledano, chairman and chief executive of the LVMH Fashion Group, said in a statement: “I am very happy to welcome Nigo as the artistic director of the Maison Kenzo. 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.

“I am convinced that the creativity and innovation of Nigo as well as his attachment to the history of the House will fully express all the potential of Kenzo.”

A Bathing Ape founder Nigo joins Kenzo as artistic director

Commenting on his new role, Nigo added: “I am proud to have been appointed artistic director of Kenzo. I was born in the year that Takada Kenzo san opened his first store in Paris. We both graduated from the same fashion school in Tokyo. In 1993, the year that Kenzo joined the LVMH Group, I started my career in fashion.

“Kenzo san’s approach to creating originality was through his understanding of many different cultures. It is also the essence of my own philosophy of creativity. Inheriting the spirit of Kenzo san’s craftsmanship to create a new Kenzo is the greatest challenge of my 30-year-career, which I intend to achieve together with the team. Finally, I would like to thank Bernard Arnault and Sidney Toledano for giving me this wonderful opportunity.”

Nigo succeeds Portuguese designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who stepped down as artistic director in June after two years with the brand. During his time with Kenzo, Baptista unveiled a new logo that was designed to “write a new chapter in its history”.

Nigo, born Tomoaki Nagao, is a fashion designer, DJ, record producer and entrepreneur and launched A Bathing Ape, also known as Bape in Tokyo in 1993. The company was sold to Hong Kong fashion conglomerate I.T Group for about 2.8 million US dollars in 2011, and Nigo left the brand in 2013.

He has also collaborated with numerous brands and individuals including launching a capsule collection with Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton in 2020 and partnered with Pharrell Williams to launch streetwear brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream. He also worked with Uniqlo on its UT brand, and in 2010, he launched his new brand Human Made.