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Issey Miyake, the iconic Japanese designer responsible for Steve Jobs’ turtle necks, died at 84

The Japanese designer was known for the use of pleating and origami style in his garments.

EFE - Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, known internationally for his creations that combined Japanese tradition with avant-garde materials and cuts, died last Friday due to liver cancer, his studio announced today.

Born in Hiroshima (western Japan) in 1938, Miyake trained in his career as a couturier in Europe and the United States before creating his studio in Tokyo and his own eponymous brand in 1970 and beginning in later years to exhibit on catwalks in Paris or New York, where he gained global recognition.

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Miyake is known for his use of pleating in his garments, for his simple turtleneck sweaters like those popularized by Steve Jobs, and for his line of Bao Bao bags with geometric patterns, among many other creations.

Who is Issey Mikayke

The Japanese couturier began to attract attention with his designs made from a single piece of fabric and his experiments with pleats, which led him to develop the sophisticated “Pleats Please” line, which is still on the market today.

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In addition to runways around the world, his designs have been exhibited in international museums and have been recognized with awards such as the Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy (2006), Japan’s Order of Culture (2010), Italy’s Compasso d’Oro (2014) or the French Legion of Honor (2016).

Miyake also worked closely with the world of dance, making specific designs for ballet and drawing inspiration from that art for other creations, and launched his own perfume line, “L’eau d’Issey”.

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In 1999, he relinquished control of his “Issey Miyake” brand to his associates, although he continued to be active in other projects, including involvement in 2007 in the opening of Japan’s first museum dedicated exclusively to design, 21_21 Design Sight, in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, which he took over as director.

Miyake was a Hiroshima bombing survivor

In 2009, Miyake revealed his story as a “hibakusha” or survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 - the 77th anniversary of which has just been commemorated - inspired, he said, by a speech on nuclear disarmament made by former U.S. President Barack Obama.

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The couturier made public his story, which until then he had never spoken about, through an article published in the New York Times, where he explained that he “did not want to be labeled as a designer who survived the atomic bomb”.

In recent years, he focused on working with new generations of designers in his Tokyo studio, and continued to be involved in the development of new materials such as those made from recycled PET plastic bottles, as well as funding a research foundation on the history of design and fashion.

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The Japanese couturier held his last fashion show outside Japan in Paris on June 23, after a two-year gap due to the pandemic, and although he stayed away from public activities, he continued to be interested in new projects for his brand and to advise his associates.

Miyake died in a Tokyo hospital on June 5, according to his studio in the Japanese capital. T

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