Nigo, a renowned Japanese fashion designer, DJ, record producer, and entrepreneur, was appointed as the Artistic Director of Maison Kenzo on September 20th, 2021. Born Tomoaki Nagao on December 23, 1970, Nigo is best known for creating the urban clothing line A Bathing Ape (Bape) and has long been a staple name in the street style world. His appointment to Kenzo marked a new chapter in the history of the iconic fashion house, which was founded by the late Kenzo Takada.
Nigo’s journey in the fashion industry began in 1993, the same year Kenzo joined the LVMH Group. He started his first independent clothing label in Tokyo and went on to change the landscape of global street culture. Throughout his career, Nigo has worked simultaneously in the worlds of fashion and music, collaborating with some of the best-known companies and creative individuals worldwide. In 2020, he produced a magnificent capsule with Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton.
“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”, says Sidney Toledano.
As the Artistic Director of Maison Kenzo, Nigo aims to inherit the spirit of Kenzo Takada’s craftsmanship and create a new Kenzo that reflects his own philosophy of creativity. This philosophy is deeply rooted in understanding different cultures and fostering originality. Nigo’s debut collection for Kenzo premiered at Paris Fashion Week, showcasing his unique take on the brand and further cementing his status as one of the most notorious figures in Japanese fashion.
“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”, says Nigo.
Nigo’s appointment to Kenzo came after the passing of its founder, Kenzo Takada, in 2020 due to complications with COVID-19, and the departure of Felipe Oliviera Baptista in June 2021 after two years at the Maison. Sidney Toledano, Chairman and CEO of the LVMH Fashion Group and a member of the LVMH Executive Committee, expressed his happiness in welcoming Nigo as the Artistic Director of Maison Kenzo, believing that his creativity, innovation, and attachment to the history of the House will fully express all the potential of Kenzo.