Designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista – who brought a sophisticated and artistic touch to Kenzo over a two-year stint – is to step down from his role of artistic director, WWD has learned.
His exit from the Paris-based fashion house, owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, will take effect on June 30 when his employment contract will arrive at its term.
“I have been honored to serve this amazing house and the legacy of its founder Kenzo Takada,” Oliveira Baptista said in a statement. “I would like to thank my teams for their talent and dedication.”
Sylvie Colin, chief executive officer of Kenzo, expressed her gratitude to the designer “for his talent, creativity and contribution to the artistic development of our house.”
It is understood a successor will be named in due course, and that the brand is likely to pursue a new direction.
Felipe Oliveira Baptista
Courtesy of Kenzo
Oliveira Baptista was partial to enveloping, nomadic silhouettes, and had returned the brand to the women’s calendar of Paris Fashion Week. His tenure coincided with the death last October of founder Kenzo Takada, due to complications from COVID-19, and he let color, pattern and energy erupt on the runway for fall 2021 as an ode to the Japanese fashion maverick.
In another tribute, last November he launched a Kenzo capsule line in homage to Kansai Yamamoto, who also passed away last year.
The designer tweaked the brand’s logo and tiger emblem, and also oversaw its sport line.
Oliveira Baptista was previously the creative director of Lacoste from 2010 to 2018, and he succeeded designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, who left Kenzo after eight years at the house to focus on their U.S.-based business, Opening Ceremony.
Known for his artfully constructed and experimental creations, Oliveira Baptista hails from Portugal and created his namesake label in 2003 with his partner Séverine Oliveira Baptista, a year after winning the main fashion prize at the Festival d’Hyères. The brand has been on hold since 2014.
A graduate of Kingston University, Oliveira Baptista took home the Andam Award in both 2003 and 2005.
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