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Issey Miyake Has Passed Away

The influential Japanese designer known for his pleated creations and innovative thinking was 84.
Issey Miyake Fashion Show 1993

Issey Miyake, the influential Japanese designer known for his pleated creations and innovative thinking, died earlier this month at age 84, the Miyake Design Studio announced on Tuesday. 

Miyake passed away on Aug. 5 following a battle with liver cancer, his office confirmed to various outlets, adding that a private funeral service had already taken place. There are no plans for a public memorial, per his wishes. 

Miyake was born in 1938 in Hiroshima. (In 2009, he published an op-ed in The New York Times detailing his personal experience during the 1945 bombings.) He studied at Tokyo's Tama Art University and, later, at Paris' École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. Before returning to Japan and starting his own company, he worked under Guy Laroche, Hubert de Givenchy and Geoffrey Beene.

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He founded the Miyake Design Studio in 1970 "to create clothing that reflects the needs of its times," its site reads. "It serves as a laboratory for researching, planning and creating clothing that is both socially conscious and universal in nature." The Miyake Design Studio now encompasses the namesake collection, Pleats Please Issey Miyake, Homme Plisé Issey Miyake, 132 5. Issey Miyake, A-Poc Able Issey Miyake, Baobao Issey Miyake and Me Issey Miyake. 

Miyake's work really started getting global acclaim in the 1980s, when he introduced his now-signature pleated fabrics, before opening the Pleats Please brand. (Back in June, The Washington Post's Rory Satran wrote about a mid-pandemic Pleats Please resurgence, largely propelled by millennial and Gen-Z shoppers.) Among his many famous fans was Steve Jobs, who made the designer's black turtlenecks part of his signature look from the '80s onwards. 

Miyake himself stepped back from day-to-day creative direction in the 1990s. (Satoshi Kondo currently serves as the company's artistic director.) Still, he continued to work. As he wrote in an e-mail to the The New York Times in 2016, "All of my work stems from the simplest of ideas that go back to the earliest civilizations: making clothing from one piece of cloth. It is my touchstone. I believe that all forms of creativity are related."

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