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

Issey Miyake who created one of Japan’s most popular fashion houses and was famous for his dramatic pleated pieces, as well as the former Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs’ black turtlenecks had passed away. He was 84 years old.

Miyake passed away on Friday, as a result of liver cancer, the Miyake Design Office said Tuesday. Miyake was the architect of a period that was a part of the modern Japanese culture and became famous in the 1970s with an entire generation of artists and designers who achieved global recognition by setting an original Japanese vision that was different from the West.

Miyake’s origami pleats transformed normally polyester that was abrasive into fashionable. Also, he used computers in weaving to create clothing. His simple clothing was designed to highlight the human body, regardless of race, build, or age.

Miyake even hated being considered a fashion designer, opting to not be associated with what he perceived as frivolous, trendy or conspicuous consumption.

In each and every instance Miyake reverted to his fundamental idea of starting with one cloth piece whether folded, draped, or wrapped. Through the years, he sought inspiration from a myriad of themes and cultures as well as everyday objects such as plastic, rattan “washi” paper, jute, horsehair batik, yarn, foil wire, indigo dyes and batik.

Sometimes, he evoked the images from Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin or worked with Japanese artist Tadanori Yokoo on illustrations of animals and plants with vibrant, psychedelic colours.

He also worked with interior and furniture designer Shiro Kuramata as well as photographer Irving Penn, choreographer and director Maurice Bejart, pottery maker Lucie Rie and Ballet Frankfurt. The year 1992 was when Miyake received a commission to create a uniform for the official Olympic uniforms for Lithuania which was about to gain its independence from the Soviet Union.

He was born in Hiroshima the year 1938. Miyake had become a hit from the moment he entered the European runways. His brown shirt was a combination of his Japanese sewing technique “sashiko” with silk knit, and was featured across the front cover of September’s 1973 issue of Elle magazine.

Miyake was also an early pioneer in gender roles. He asked feminist Fusae Ichikawa in the 70s and in her late 80s to be his model, delivering the message that clothes should be comfortable and reflect the natural beauty of people. Even though his clothes transcended the ordinary and seemed to seek an ethereal quality, he also made it a goal to not be overly pretentious, and always loved the casual T-shirt and jeans appearance. “Designing is like being a living organism that seeks out what is essential to its health and stability,” Miyake once wrote in his book. The office of Miyake confirmed that the private funeral has already been conducted and other ceremonies won’t be held according to Miyake’s preferences. Miyake kept his life with his family private and the names of his children aren’t known.

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