The LVMH group have announced that Nigo will be the new Artistic Director of subsidiary label Kenzo. Nigo is best known as the original founder of influential streetwear brand A Bathing Ape (aka BAPE), before leaving in 2013 to focus on his other brand, Human Made, among other projects. These projects include a long-running association with adidas, and a role as Creative Director at UNIQLO’s UT sub-brand. Most recently, Nigo worked with Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh on some exclusive collaborative collections.
While it seems like the LV colab was likely a stepping stone towards Nigo’s appointment at Kenzo, the co-sign was unofficially made over 20 years ago. An old Japanese magazine scan pictured above depicts a young Nigo – barely five years into his tenure at BAPE – wearing a Louis Vuitton Checker Coat from 1998, when Marc Jacobs was at the helm and transformed the heritage luxury luggage house into an immensely popular nouveau riche label.
Furthermore, Nigo attended prestigious fashion college Bunka – the same as Kenzo’s eponymous late founder, Kenzo Takada. And the label joined LVMH in 1993, the same year Nigo founded BAPE. Call it destiny.
Time will tell whether Nigo returns Kenzo to their former lofty heights just as Jacobs did with LV all those years ago. Because Kenzo have sneaker collaborations under their belt, those could possibly be in the works too. Nigo starts his new role on September 20 with Paris Fashion Week looming.