What Kenzo Left Behind


Though this auction — an eclectic array of objects that included a series of 13 prints by William Eggleston, a wooden funerary horse dating to the Han dynasty, antique French table services and Harcourt glasses by Baccarat customized with Mr. Takada’s signature gold lotus — did not inspire the kind of frenzy seen at the sale of the Yves Saint Laurent estate, which saw fights over nondescript umbrella stands and never used pots and pans, every lot sold, often for several times the high estimate.

At one point, a bidding war broke out over a small octagonal lacquered tray trimmed with galuchat by Katsu Hamanaka; valued at a high of 1,200 euros ($1,449), it sold to a European collector for 42,900 euros ($51,909). A four-piece ceremonial-style ensemble in ivory jacquard with colorful motifs was one of the fashion sale’s strongest performers: At 2,470 euros ($2,983), it was the second highest seller, after a trench in beige and black jacquard paired with a lavaliere blouse in ivory taffeta, which went for 3,380 euros ($4,081).

Also on view: the designer’s talent as a painter, of self-portraits in particular. Those were mainly done to accompany themed exhibitions in Morocco, Germany and Argentina, said Jonathan Bouchet Manheim, Mr. Takada’s longtime friend and business partner. The two men’s latest venture, the luxury home and lifestyle brand K3, was introduced in January 2020. The company’s projects, he said, would continue.

Adjusting to Mr. Takada’s absence is taking some time, Mr. Manheim said.

“Sometimes it feels like he’s just traveling, which he loved,” he said. “He was in great shape and he never stopped learning. He was trying to learn to play the piano from children’s books, and he was terrible at it. He looked like he was 60, and I thought he would live to 110.”

Although Mr. Manheim was outbid on one of Mr. Takada’s self-portraits in traditional dress with a Noh mask done for an exhibition in Moscow (a Russian buyer snapped it up), he did manage to purchase the designer’s favorite self-portrait for the K3 office. A classical-style oil showing a 40-ish Mr. Takada in profile wearing a formal gray suit and blue tie, the painting used to hang in the entryway of his atelier.

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