Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake dies at 84 after cancer battle

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JAPANESE fashion designer Issey Miyake has died at the age of 84.

Miyake – famed for his pleated style of clothing that never wrinkles – passed away after a battle with liver cancer.


Fashion guru Issey Miyake has died at the age of 84Credit: AFP

The fashion guru, whose name became a byword for Japan’s economic and fashion prowess in the 1980s, died on August 5, the Kyodo news agency said. 

Miyake was best known for his technology-driven clothing designs and perfumes – including the fragrance L’eau d’Issey.

He also produced the black turtleneck that became part of Steve Jobs’s signature look.

The Apple boss previously told author Walter Isaacson: “I asked Issey to make me some of his black turtlenecks that I liked, and he made me like a hundred of them.”

Miyake was born in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1938, and witnessed the atomic bombing of 1945 as a child.

Known for his practicality, Miyake is said to have wanted to become either a dancer before reading his sister’s fashion magazines inspired him to change direction – with those original interests believed to be behind the freedom of movement his clothing permits.

He studied graphic design at Tama Art University in Tokyo before joining a fashion school in Paris.

Miyake then moved to New York in 1969 and enrolled in English classes while working on Seventh Avenue for designer Geoffrey Beene.

A year later, he returned to Tokyo – where he founded high-end women’s fashion production company Miyake Design Studio.

In the late 1980s, he developed a new way of pleating by wrapping fabrics between layers of paper and putting them into a heat press, with the garments holding their pleated shape.

Tested for their freedom of movement on dancers, this led to the development of his signature “Pleats, Please” line.

Eventually, he developed more than a dozen fashion lines ranging from his main Issey Miyake for men and women to bags, watches and fragrances before essentially retiring in 1997 to devote himself to research.

Miyake was just seven was an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima while he was in a classroom.

He was reluctant to speak of the event in later life.

In 2009, writing in the New York Times as part of a campaign to get then-US President Barack Obama to visit the city, he said he did not want to be labelled as “the designer who survived” the bomb.

“When I close my eyes, I still see things no one should ever experience,” he wrote, adding that within three years, his mother died of radiation exposure.

“I have tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to put them behind me, preferring to think of things that can be created, not destroyed, and that bring beauty and joy.

“I gravitated toward the field of clothing design, partly because it is a creative format that is modern and optimistic.”


Miyake designed the black turtleneck that became part of Steve Job’s signature lookCredit: Getty – Contributor

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