Felipe Oliveira Baptista quits Kenzo after less than two years
Felipe Oliveira Baptista is to step down as artistic director of Paris-based fashion house Kenzo at the end of June 2021 when his two-year contract expires.
Oliveira Baptista replaced Opening Ceremony founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, who left the LVMH-owned house after a successful seven-year stint during which they put it back on the map with desirable streetwear staples, in particular the signature "Tiger" jumpers, sweatshirts and t-shirts.
Oliveira Baptista said of his departure: "I am very honoured to have put myself at the service of this magnificent house, of the heritage of its founder Kenzo Takada, and I would like to thank my teams for their talent and their involvement.”
The Portuguese designer's career has taken in high profile positions at Max Mara, Christophe Lemaire and Cerruti, but is best known for his eight-year stint at Lacoste.
Kenzo was founded by legendary Paris-based Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, who passed away last October, having contracted COVID-19. He founded his house in 1970 and sold it to LVMH in 1993. He retired as a designer in 1999 to pursue a career as an artist.
One of Oliveira Baptista's last acts was to pay tribute to Takada in a video presentation in March of this year, and Takada himself had previously praised Oliveira Baptista's vision for the brand.
His departure has come as something of a surprise to fans of the designer, who had to grapple with the restrictions that COVID-19 placed on fashion shows and physical retail sales during his brief tenure.