Fashion designer Issey Miyake, known equally well for bold and timeless pleated pieces as well as simpler ones like Steve Jobs’ iconic black turtleneck, died at the age of 84 from liver cancer.


Miyake founded and ran his eponymous design studio which became a titan of high-end women’s fashion lines. His incredible design appeal crossed generations and eras and is a consistent favorite among celebrities like Grace Jones, Solange Knowles, Meryl Streep and many more.

Issey Miyake was born on April 22, 1938, in Hiroshima, Japan. He revealed in 2009 that as a seven-year-old child, he was one of many Japanese people affected by the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He first wanted to be a dancer as a child, but later gained an interest in fashion by reading his sister’s fashion magazines.

Miyake graduated from Tama Art University in 1964 and was further trained in Paris as an apprentice to noted designers. He worked for Guy Laroche and as a sketch artist for Hubert de Givenchy. He then spent a year in New York, where he made friendships with artists like Robert Rauschenberg and worked for the American designer Geoffrey Beene.

Miyake returned to Japan in 1970, where he founded Miyake Design Studio in Tokyo. He continuously pushed not only design but techniques of production forward. A style of pleating Miyake developed in the 80s allowed him to create much more complex, but still light and easy-to-wear garments.

Along with his iconic men’s and womenswear lines, Miyake was also known for his fragrance series L’eau d’Issay, heading the Tokyo design museum 21 21 Design Sight, and artistic collaborations with artists like Tim Hawkinson and Cai Guo-Qiang.

Miyake’s work can only be described with words so well, so here is a video from a 2020 womenswear show that shows his level of genius, sense of humor, and the innovative ideas he continued to create throughout his long career.

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