Kenzo Artistic Director Felipe Oliveria Baptista to Leave After 2 Years
Felipe Oliveria Baptista is parting ways with Kenzo following the end of his two-year contract which was set to finish this summer. The Portuguese designer took over as creative director of Kenzo in 2019 from Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. As the artist director, he oversaw the artist direction of the brand globally and was known for his experimental creations and elongated silhouettes during his time. He also helped develop the new sports line, created a new logo and carried on the legacy of the brand. The question now is, where does the brand go from here?
No replacement has yet been announced and the news comes as a surprise to many considering that most of the 45-year-old designer's time at Kenzo has been hampered by the pandemic. His first show took place in February 2020 as audiences in Paris were waning.
But despite this, the designer rose to the challenge and presented a collection that paid homage to the French fashion house's nomadic roots while envisioning new values for its future. The late Kenzo Takada, the founder of the brand, proudly watched the debut collection from the front row and applauded the new direction Oliveria Baptista took. The designer then presented his spring/summer 2021 ready-to-wear collection in September.
Talking to Tatler back in November 2020 about his vision for the brand, Oliveria Baptisa said, "Kenzo has always been about nature, from the prints to the art to the use of flowers, but today I wanted to make it about nature for nature, to give back to it because we have a responsibility as an industry to do so, but also because in the future, customers will want brands that connect to a cause because they’ll be as careful about clothes as they are about what they eat."
Prior to his time at Kenzo, Oliveria Baptista was the creative director of Lacoste from 2010 to 2018. The Paris-based designer also trained at Max Mara, Christophe Lemaire, Cerruti and his namesake label from 2003 to 2014.
"I have been honoured to serve this amazing House and the extraordinary legacy of its founder Kenzo Takada. I would like to thank my teams, the atelier and everyone involved for their talent and dedication. I would also like to thank all the extremely creative talents that worked with us on this incredible journey," says the designer on his Instagram. Kenzo CEO, Sylvie Colin also thanked Oliveria Baptista for his work, "We are very grateful to Felipe for his talent, creativity and contribution to the artistic development of our House."
Regardless of who is taking on the torch from Oliveria Baptista, it's clear that the fashion house is heading in a new direction once again.