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August 25, 2022 2 min read

The fashion world has lost another legend.  Earlier this month, Japanese designer Issey Miyake passed away at the age of 84, leaving behind a fashion legacy spanning more than 50 years! Throughout his decades-long career, Miyake worked with multiple legendary designers, before establishing his own line, where he made an indelible impact. We’re looking back at some of the designer’s most legendary fashion moments.

Issey Miyake

The road to design

Miyake was born in Japan during World War II, and even faced exposure to the atomic bombing in Hiroshima. At a young age, he aspired to be a dancer, and movement became a center focus for his later work as an independent designer. He eventually went to school to study art and following graduation, he moved to Paris where he worked with some historic Parisian designers. He apprenticed as an assistant to Guy Laroche and worked as a sketch artist for Hubert de Givenchy, former designer to Audrey Hepburn and founder of Givenchy. 

In the late 1960s, he moved to New York and worked for Geoffrey Beene before returning to Japan and founding his own studio, Miyake Design Studio, which produced high end fashion for women. From a young age, Miyake was influenced by a sense of playfulness and fun, as well as sculpture and even geometry. They all played crucial roles in inspiring and influencing the work he would eventually be known for.  


A long-lasting impact  

During the 1980s, Miyake gained traction for his avant-garde looks, which were regarded more as works of art. In fact, many of his pieces were featured in museums and, to this day, some of his designs are preserved at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Some of his designs of this time even featured latex, including a head-to-toe latex ensemble and a red latex corset, featured at The Met Museum. 

Issey Miyake Latex

Issey Miyake Red Latex Corset

While his latex designs are our favorites, Miyake also became famous for reimagining pleats, which he began to explore during this time. He experimented with new methods for designing pleats, hoping to allow for better movement and easier garment care. Eventually, he developed his own fabric that expanded vertically through multiple, tiny folds. Pleats became one of his signatures, even spinning off into a separate line, known as Pleats Please. 

Issey Miyake Pleats

Miyake was one of the rare designers who remained relevant. After designing uniforms for the employees of Sony’s factories, his friend and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, recruited him to produce Jobs’ black turtlenecks, which eventually became his signature look. 

His work was celebrated at multiple museums and with multiple awards and recognition. Miyake will be missed for his long-lasting, innovative and artistic take on women’s fashion!


Photos ℅ CNN and The Met

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