Issey Miyake, known for his bold sculpted designs, dies at 84


Issey Miyake, who built one of Japan’s biggest fashion brands and was known for his boldly sculpted pleated pieces as well as the black turtlenecks of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, has died. He was 84 years old.

Miyake died last Friday of liver cancer, the Miyake Design Office announced on Tuesday.

Miyake defined an era in modern Japanese history, rising to stardom in the 1970s among a generation of designers and artists who achieved worldwide fame by defining a Japanese vision unique to the West.

Miyake’s origami-style pleats transformed the usually coarse polyester into chic. He also used computer technology in weaving to create clothing. His down-to-earth clothes were meant to celebrate the human body regardless of race, build, height or age.

Miyake hated even being called a fashion designer, choosing not to identify with what he saw as frivolous, trendy, and ostentatious consumerism.

Again and again, Miyake returned to his basic concept of starting with a single piece of fabric – whether draped, folded, cut or wrapped.

Over the years, he has drawn inspiration from a variety of cultures and societal motifs, as well as everyday objects – plastic, rattan, “washi” paper, jute, horsehair, foil, thread, batik , indigo dyes and wiring.

He sometimes conjures images of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, or collaborates with Japanese painter Tadanori Yokoo in images of monkeys and foliage in vibrant, psychedelic hues.

He has also collaborated with furniture and interior designer Shiro Kuramata, photographer Irving Penn, choreographer and director Maurice Bejart, potter Lucie Rie and the Frankfurt Ballet.

In 1992, Miyake was commissioned to design the official Olympic uniform for Lithuania, which had just gained independence from the Soviet Union.

Born in Hiroshima in 1938, Miyake became a star as soon as he arrived on the European catwalks. Her maroon top, which combined Japanese “sashiko” sewn fabric with a raw silk knit, was splashed on the cover of Elle magazine’s September 1973 issue.

Miyake was also a pioneer in gender roles, asking feminist Fusae Ichikawa in the 1970s – when she was 80 – to be her role model, sending the message that clothes should be comfortable and express beauty. natural to real people.

Although he made clothes that went beyond the mundane, seeming to reach for the spiritual, he made a point of never being pretentious, always endorsing the T-shirt and jeans look.

“Design is like a living organism in that it pursues what matters to its well-being and continuity,” Miyake wrote in his book.

His office confirmed that a private burial has already taken place and that other ceremonies will not take place in accordance with Miyake’s wishes. Miyake kept his family life private and the survivors are unknown.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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