Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake dies from cancer at 84

Al Jazeera -- Aug 10
Japanese designer Issey Miyake, famed for his pleated style of clothing that never wrinkles, has died aged 84, according to media reports in the country.

Miyake, whose name became a byword for Japan’s economic and fashion prowess in the 1980s, died on August 5 of liver cancer, Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday.

An employee from his office in Tokyo said Miyake’s funeral had already taken place, with “only relatives participating” in line with his wishes. There were no plans for a public ceremony, the employee said.

Miyake, who pioneered high-tech, comfortable clothing during a career that spanned more than half a century, was part of a wave of young Japanese designers who made their mark in Paris from the mid-1970s.

His fashion house nurtured many talented young designers, and was known for innovative and dazzling catwalk shows.

Born in Hiroshima, Miyake was seven years old when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city while he was in a classroom. He was reluctant to speak of the event in later life. In 2009, writing in the New York Times as part of a campaign to get then-US President Barack Obama to visit the city, he said he did not want to be labelled as “the designer who survived” the bomb.

Known for his practicality, Miyake is said to have wanted to become either a dancer or an athlete before reading his sister’s fashion magazines inspired him to change direction – with those original interests believed to be behind the freedom of movement his clothing permits.

After studying graphic design at a Tokyo art university, he learned clothing design in Paris, where he worked with celebrated fashion designers Guy Laroche and Hubert de Givenchy, before heading to New York. In 1970, he returned to Tokyo and founded the Miyake Design Studio.

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