A sad day in the world of fashion after it was announced that the legendary Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake had died, aged 84.
According to the Kyodo news agency, cause of death was liver cancer.
Born in 1938 in Hiroshima, Issey Miayke was only seven years old when his home city was hit a nuclear bomb, dropped by US forces in August, 1975. In a story he wrote for The New York Times, Miyake said that he did not wish to be considered a “survivor”.
“When I close my eyes, I still see things no one should ever experience,” he wrote.
After graduating in graphic design at Tokyo art university in the ’60s, Miyake went to live in Paris where he worked and studied under Guy Laroche and the legendary Hubert de Givenchy. Eventually, he moved back to his homeland of Japan, settling in Tokyo during the 1970s where he launched the Miyake Design Studio.
It was in the 1980s that Issey Miyake started to gain global recognition for his experiments with pleating in clothing, which would soon become his signature fabrication throughout his career. He invented an entirely new method of constructing pleating, wrapping his chosen fabrics between layers of paper before putting them into a heat press, with the garments holding their pleated shape. To test the resilience of his pleating technique, he had dancers wear and move in them. This success lead to his first Pleats, Please line.
This innovative fabrication was just one path of what would become a network of brands and divisions of the Miyake brand, each one exploring the relationship clothing had on the body and how it navigated the space it would move in. He drew on traditional Japanese aesthetics to craft garments that were both complex in concept yet elegant and comfortable in structure. He was also the designer responsible for the late Steve Jobs iconic black turtle necks.
His other great legacy was perfume – two landmark fragrances released in the 1990s, L’eau d’Issey parfum for her and the L’eau d’Issey Pour Homme. The woman’s was an instant hit, fuelling the scrubbed minimalist trend for scents in the 1990s with its incredible water-floral accord that was somehow both intense and transparent at the same time. The men’s was a lemonade-like fizz over the top of woody notes, instantly recognisable for miles.