Arts & Entertainment

Groundbreaking Japanese designer Issey Miyake dies aged 84

Tokyo, Aug 9 (EFE).- The innovative Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, who was well known for merging a traditional Japanese aesthetic with avant-garde techniques, has died of liver cancer, his studio announced Tuesday.

Miyake died in a Tokyo hospital on August, 5, according to the Issey Miyake studio.

Born in Hiroshima, western Japan, in 1938, Miyake trained as a fashion designer in Europe and the United States before setting up his studio in Tokyo in 1970.

He launched his creations in Paris and New York, where he earned global recognition for his cutting-edge designs and innovative pattern cutting and pleating techniques.

Some of Miyake’s staples include his minimalist turtleneck sweaters which Apple founder Steve Jobs famously sported and his line of Bao Bao bags with geometric patterns.

The Japanese couturier’s innovative micro-pleating technique via the ‘Pleats Please’ line caught the attention of fashionistas worldwide when it was launched in 1988.

The clothing line, which continues to be sold to this day, is developed using a single thread and combines beauty, comfort and function, according to the Issey Miyake studio.

Miyake’s inventions have graced catwalks and have also been exhibited in museums across the globe.

The designer received numerous awards including the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy (2006), Japan’s Order of Culture (2010), the Golden Compass of Italy (2014) and France’s Legion of Honor (2016).

Dance was a source of inspiration for Miyake and he created ballet costumes as well as delved into the world of fragrances with his well-known scent L’eau d’Issey.

In 1999, he handed over control of the Issey Miyake brand to his associates, although he continued to be actively involved in other projects such as the 2007 launch of Japan’s first design museum, 21_21 Design Sight, in the Tokyo neighborhood of Roppongi.

In 2009, Miyake spoke of his experience as a ‘hibakusha’, a Japanese word to describe survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, inspired, he said, by a Barack Obama speech on nuclear disarmament.

The designer shared his story, which had remained private until then, in an article published in the New York Times, where he explained that he did not want to be known as “the designer who survived the atomic bomb”.

In recent years, Miyake backed emerging Tokyo designers in his studio and continued to develop new and sustainable materials. He also funded a research foundation on the history of design and fashion.

Miyake’s last fashion show outside of Japan took place in Paris on June 23, after a two-year pandemic hiatus. EFE


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