A funeral service has already been held with his family and close friends, his office said, adding that a memorial ceremony will not be held, in line with the designer’s wishes.
Miyake rose to international prominence in the 1980s with avant-garde designs that those who could afford his luxury pieces immediately regarded as collector’s items. Today, his designs are preserved at institutions including London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Issey Miyake pictured in Tokyo in 2015. Credit: Masahiro Sugimoto/The Yomiuri/Reuters
Miyake was born in the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1938. The bomb that was dropped on the city in 1945 left him with a pronounced limp that would follow him through adulthood, and his mother died three years later from radiation exposure.
Miyake studied graphic design at Tokyo’s Tama Art University before moving to Paris in 1965. There, he enrolled at the renowned tailoring and dressmaking school École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.
A model walks the runway for Issey Miyake at Paris Fashion Week’s Spring-Summer 2018 edition. Credit: Richard Bord/WireImage/Getty Images
In 1970, he founded his own design studio in Tokyo. His early designs skillfully blended East and West, using Japanese embroidery techniques and tattoo designs.
It was during the 1980s that he began to develop a new fabric that could expanded vertically with hundreds of tiny folds. He drew inspiration from the pleated silk Delphos gowns designed by Henriette Negrin and her husband Mariano Fortuny in the early 1900s.
Issey Miyake pictured during Paris Fashion Week in the early 1990s. Credit: PL Gould/Images/Getty Images
Miyake took their idea a step forward, blending traditional and newly developed techniques to create permanently pleated garments that were at once avant-garde and comfortable, architectural and natural.
He never stopped innovating. In 2007, Miyake launched his Reality Lab to explore durable and environmentally sustainable materials.
In addition to his clothing, Miyake was also known for his line of fragrances. The first, L’Eau d’Issey, was launched in 1992 and became an international bestseller.
Related video: Behind the scenes at the Issey Miyake show during Paris Fashion Week
Miyake received multiple awards for his work as a fashion designer and as an artist. In 2005, the Japan Arts Association awarded him a Praemium Imperiale for his outstanding achievement in the arts. A year later he became the first fashion designer to receive the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy for lifetime achievement.
To the very end, Miyake remained faithful to the craft of the couturier that he had learned as a young man.
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