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Revolutionary Japanese Designer Issey Miyake Dies At 84

Miyake, also known as the man behind Steve Jobs’ iconic turtle necks, retired from active designing in the late 1990s

Japanese designer Issey Miyake succumbed to liver cancer on Friday( August 5) in Tokyo, as stated by his company. He was aged 84 at the time of his death. As per recent reports, a private funeral has already taken place in accordance with his last wishes. 

When anyone mentions Issey Miyake, all you can think of is the iconic pleated trousers, dresses, blouses, and structured apparel that are equal parts stylish and comfortable.

Known for his signature pleats, fragrances, and avant-garde silhouettes, Miyake ruled the roost in the international fashion industry with notable contributions, such as designing Steve Job’s iconic black turtleneck jumper. Miyake was also among a pool of young Japanese designers who made an impact on the Japanese fashion front in Paris in the ‘70s. He revolutionized pleating in the 1990s, with a collection called ‘Pleats Please Issey Miyake’. And subsequently, an iconic line of fragrances was launched. L’eau d’Issey continues to be the brand’s best-known fragrance yet.

Born in Hiroshima in 1938, the designer was seven years old when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city in August 1945. He survived the blast, which led to the end of World War II after the bombing of Nagasaki precisely three days later.

Miyake studied graphic design at Tama Art University in Tokyo. After graduating in 1964, the designer went to a Parisian school, where he trained under Guy Laroche and sketched with Hubert de Givenchy, before heading to New York. On his return from the US, Miyake established the Miyake Design Studio in Tokyo in 1970 and went on to open his first boutique in Paris. 

By the ‘80s, his career was in full swing where he experimented with materials including plastics, metal wire, and artisanal Japanese paper. He began experimenting with new-age methods of pleating that allowed movement as well as looking visually aesthetic. He curated a variety of categories for men and women under his bespoke Issey Miyake label until his retirement in 1997. In the later years, he devoted himself to full-time research. Yoshiyuki Miyamae helmed the brand’s creative direction since 2012.

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