Is it us, or are creative directors of major fashion houses playing an elaborate game of musical chairs, jumping from label to label? However, it’s worth keeping up with the latest news of who goes where because these are the people who shape the world’s fashion trends. The latest new appointment comes from luxury fashion house Kenzo, which was founded in 1970 by Japanese designer Kenzō Takada. It was just announced that Felipe Oliveira Baptista will be in charge of the house’s new era, and here’s everything you need to know about him.
Who is he taking over from?
Humberto Leon and Carol Lim have been the dual creative directors of Kenzo for the past eight years. Now, they’re back to focusing on their own brand Opening Ceremony and, needless to say, Baptista has some big shoes to fill.
Not only were they groundbreaking in being the first Asian-American designers to head up an LVMH brand, but they also won huge amounts of praise for their work – whether that was casting an all-Asian runway show or creating a whole collection inspired by pop icon Britney Spears. They also brought a streetwear edge to Kenzo, and could always be relied on for interesting advertising campaigns. Their last show for Kenzo was just two weeks ago, and Leon and Lim finished strong with experimental designs and a stunning performance by Solange Knowles.
What is Felipe Oliveira Baptista’s background?
Baptista is a Portuguese-born, Paris-based designer who graduated from Kingston University London. He is best known for his work at heritage tennis brand Lacoste, where he was Creative Director from 2010 to 2018.
What can we expect from him at Kenzo?
Lacoste had something of a reputation for being an old-school tennis brand, and Baptista managed to turn it around into a well-regarded designer label. In this sense, he’s well-placed to continue on with Leon and Lim’s work. As they did with Kenzo, Baptista brought Lacoste into the modern age and made it covetable for streetwear-loving millennials. Chances are that he won’t be afraid of high-fashion athleisure and a lot of logos – and the industry is loving that right now.
We can also expect plenty of bold graphics and hopefully the odd collaboration, as his most prominent Lacoste collab was with skatewear brand Supreme. It also helps that Baptista doesn’t shy away from some of the bigger issues plaguing the industry, like environmentalism.
What has been said about the appointment?
Baptista wrote on Instagram: “I am extremely honored to announce my appointment as Kenzo’s new Creative Director. To join such an iconic maison is a great gift and challenge. Kenzo is all about contagious freedom and movement. Everything Mr. Takada did was printed with joy, elegance, and a youthful and cheeky sense of humor. Kenzo’s constant celebration of nature and cultural diversity have always been and still remain at the heart of the brand. Two subjects that never felt more relevant and compelling than today, instrumental in writing Kenzo’s future.”
Of the appointment, Kenzo CEO Sylvie Colin said, “His innovative and modern creative vision and well-rounded artistic approach will enable Kenzo to reach its full potential while respecting its unique heritage.”