Fashion Designer Issey Miyake Has Died at 84

Issey Miyake, the Japanese designer standing on the runway next to a model wearing his design

Issey Miyake, the Japanese designer known for his future-thinking design, died earlier this month after a bout with cancer at the age of 84, though his passing was only publicly announced this morning. According to CNN, a small funeral service has already taken place, and, per his wishes, no memorial service will be held.

Miyake was not so much concerned with fantasies in his designs as he was possibilities. After originally studying graphic design, Miyake pursued fashion with an emphasis on both the possibilities of fabrics and how his clothing would actually integrate itself into life. His trademark pleats best exemplified this: the accordion-like folds in the fabric were treated to maintain their shape producing clothes that were easy to wear and care for, and yet looked special and complicated. His Bao Bao bags, made up of triangular tiles, are instantly recognizable despite not sporting a logo. His L'Eau d'Issey is often on the list of the best selling and best smelling fragrances of all time.

Miyake’s designs weren’t particular meant for your typical red carpet, and his client base wasn’t necessarily starlets with a paid stylist. Instead, it was singular icons who gravitated to Miyake’s designs. Steve Jobs’s trademark black turtlenecks were made by Miyake. Grace Jones wore his designs often. Robin Williams was a fan. Mary-Kate Olsen wore a black Miyake dress to the 2013 CFDA awards. His clothing is a staple of the wardrobes of an untold number of fashion editors, art gallerists, and poets.

Miyake’s passing will likely not have an immediate effect on the creative direction on the company he built. The man himself had claimed he retired from fashion in 1997, and the numerous fashion lines under his umbrella have been run by staff ever since.

Issey Miyake Moments

Grace Jones in Issey Miyake

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Looks from Pleats Please spring 1995 collection


Looks from spring 1994


A look from spring 1999


Mary-Kate Olsen wears Issey Miyake to the 2013 CFDA Fashion Awards

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A look from spring 1985

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