Felipe Oliveira Baptista is parting ways with Kenzo after 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 artistic director, he oversaw the artist direction of the brand globally and was known for his experimental creations and elongated silhouettes during his time. During his stint, he also helped to develop the new sports line, created a new logo and carried on the legacy of the brand.

No immediate successor will be named, and the brand will pursue a different direction, taking the time necessary to settle on the right creative leadership, sources told WWD. “I have been honoured 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.”

He brought the brand back to the women’s calendar of Paris Fashion Week and staged two coed shows in a picturesque city park, including a debut that saw models traversing transparent tubes. With most of his time at Kenzo marked by the COVID pandemic, his first show took place in February 2020, when attendance in Paris was already waning, Oliveria Baptista had to think innovatively and chart a new path for the brand from the start.

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 Baptist 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.

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