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Kenzo Takada: Japan fashion icon 'rode the wave' of hippie culture

Designer and his adventurous spirit gave a new haute couture to the masses

Kenzo Takada speaks to Nikkei in 2018. (Photo by Akira Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- Kenzo Takada, who passed away on Sunday, was not the type to put on airs. He hated formal authority, and loved freedom and laughter. "I'm like Peter Pan -- no matter how old I get, I'm still chasing my dreams," he would say with a laugh.

The motifs of his work refused to be bound by conventional standards, and they had no rules. He used the cotton typically reserved for summer wear in fall and winter clothes, and boldly layered different patterns and flashy primary colors on top of one another. These techniques were considered "forbidden" in Western fashion.

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