Kenzo appoints Felipe Oliveira Baptista as creative director
Kenzo’s new creative director is Felipe Oliveira Baptista. The LVMH group waited for the Paris Fashion Week Men to end with the Carol Lim and Humberto Leon show at Bercy, in which they presented their last collection after eight years in charge of style at Kenzo, to confirm the appointment of the Portuguese designer as their successor, as anticipated by FashionNetwork.com on June 24.
In a press release, LVMH stated that Oliveira Baptista, 44, is joining Kenzo at the beginning of July. He is expected to unveil his first men's and women’s collections in Paris in early 2020, with the Fall/Winter 2020-21 season. Oliveira Baptista will oversee creativity for all of Kenzo's collections. “His contemporary, innovative creative vision and his extremely comprehensive design approach will enable the label to deploy its potential while respecting its unique heritage,” said Sylvie Colin, general manager of Kenzo.
Felipe Oliveira Baptista was the creative director of Lacoste for eight years, having left in 2018 after doubling the French sportswear label’s sales during his tenure. He cleverly rejuvenated Lacoste's appeal, broadening its audience and turning it into a sought-after label, chiefly by younger consumers, thanks to a distinctive style of cool urban sportswear.
A native of the Azores islands and an architecture enthusiast, Oliveira Baptista turned to fashion after discovering the work of Balenciaga. A fashion design graduate from Kingston University, London, he started with Max Mara, then moved to Christophe Lemaire and Cerruti from 1997 to 2001.
In 2002, Oliveira Baptista won the emerging designer prize at the Hyères Fashion Festival. The following year, he won the ANDAM Prize, which he won again in 2005. It was the platform that enabled him to launch his own ready-to-wear label in 2003 with his wife Séverine, a label he terminated in 2014.“Kenzo means movement and a contagious spirit of freedom. Joy, elegance and a fresh, cheeky sense of humour were at the heart of everything [Kenzo] Takada did. The way in which Kenzo celebrates nature and cultural diversity has always been and still is the label's core trait. These two themes have never been as relevant and crucial as now, and they will be essential in writing the future of Kenzo,” said Oliveira Baptista in the press release, hinting at some of the directions he intends to take as he begins working for his new label.
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