Black and white portrait of Issey Miyake

Japanese designer Issey Miyake dies aged 84

Japanese designer Issey Miyake, founder of his eponymous fashion brand, has died in Tokyo aged 84 following a battle with liver cancer.

Miyake, who founded his design studio in 1970, died on 5 August. The designer is best known for his revolutionary sculptural, technical and pleated garments from his mainline brand and sub-labels including Pleats Please, A-POC, and Bao Bao.

Issey Miyake Autumn Winter 2020 show by Satoshi Kondo
Issey Miyake started an eponymous brand as well as various sub-labels

According to a statement from Issey Miyake Group, Miyake died at a hospital in Tokyo surrounded by close friends and associates after battling hepatocellular carcinoma, a common type of liver cancer.

"It is with heavy heart that we must inform you that Issey Miyake, designer, and founder of the Miyake Design Studio and the Issey Miyake Group, passed away on August 5th, 2022, at a hospital in Tokyo, surrounded by close friends and associates," said the Issey Miyake Group's statement.

Image of mannequins wearing garments by Issey Miyake
The designer used fabric manipulation to create garments

The Japanese fashion designer, who was born in Hiroshima in 1938, gained an interest in design after discovering artist and designer Isamu Noguchi's Peace and West Peace Bridges in his home city, which were installed in memory of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.

Miyake studied at Tama Art University's Department of Graphic Design before working as an assistant at French fashion houses Guy Laroche and Givenchy after graduating.

He established the Miyake Design Studio in 1970 and three years later started presenting his collections in Paris. In 1999 Miyake stepped back from his nine brands and turned over responsibility to his associates, however, the designer maintained final oversight of the brands until his death.

"Never one to embrace trends, Miyake's dynamic spirit was driven by a relentless curiosity and desire to convey joy through the medium of design," continued the group's statement.

"Always a pioneer, Miyake both embraced traditional handcrafts but also looked to the next solution: the newest technology driven by research and development. He never once stepped back from his love, the process of making things."

Homme Plissé Tokyo flagship by Tokujin Yoshioka
Miyake was famed for his innovative designs

Miyake experimented with a range of materials, fabric manipulation and techniques to develop fashion innovations while making use of and reviving near-lost traditional production methods to facilitate the manufacturing of his garments.

For the fashion houses' Autumn Winter 2020 collection, the label presented bodysuits with origami folds, rainbow knitwear and multi-zip puffer jackets.

Issey Miyake's stores were similarly as dramatic and innovation-driven, with Tokujin Yoshioka installing an industrial pleating machine within the interior of its Homme Plissé flagship store in Tokyo.

The photography is by Brigitte Lacombe.