Issey Miyake, the Japanese fashion designer, dies aged 84

Dedicated to democratising fashion, he brought new technologies into the industry

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Issey Miyake, the Japanese designer who helped to revolutionise fashion through technology, has died aged 84, it has been reported.

The Kyodo news agency has reported the designer died of hepatocellular carcinoma on Friday, although it has only been announced now.

Born in Hiroshima on April 22, 1938, as a child he witnessed the nuclear bombing of the city by the US, an event that had a profound effect on his life and work.

Miyake studied graphic design at Tama Art University in Tokyo, and then moved to Paris to study at the prestigious Chambre syndicale de la couture Parisienne.

After stints working for Guy Laroche and Hubert de Givenchy in 1969 he moved again, to New York, where he became friends with artists such as Robert Rauschenberg.

In 1970, he returned to Tokyo and founded his own house, Miyake Design Studio.

Fascinated with the idea of democratising fashion through simple construction, he began experimenting with different materials and treatments, in a quest that continued for the rest of his life.

Inspired by the work of Vionnet — and more importantly, the use of pleating — Miyake became intrigued with how he could create simple, one-size clothing, that would expand or contract to fit any body shape. To this end, he experimented endlessly to find the best method, finally discovering that making the piece of clothing first, and then feeding the finished item through a heat press to create the pleats, created folds that were almost impossible to remove.

By 1988, pleated garments were the backbone of the Issey Miyake fashion label, and in 1994 were given their own brand, Pleats Please Issey Miyake.

His intellectual curiosity meant Miyake never stopped experimenting, and in 1999 he stepped back from his eponymous labels to concentrate on these studies.

Over the course of his career Miyake launched several projects that ranged from his main collection to Issey Miyake Fete, envisioned as a celebratory women’s line, in colourful, pleated designs and Pleats Please Issey Miyake.

In 1992, he launched his first perfume, the phenomenally successful L'Eau d'Issey.

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Updated: August 10, 2022, 3:31 AM