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Famed Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake dies aged 84

Issey Miyake (Kyodo News via AP)

Issey Miyake, who built one of Japan’s biggest fashion brands and was known for his boldly sculpted, signature pleated pieces, has died at the age of 84.

Miyake died on August 5 of liver cancer, Miyake Design Office said on Tuesday.

Miyake defined an era in Japan’s modern history, reaching stardom in the 1970s among a generation of designers and artists who reached global fame by defining a Japanese vision that was unique from the West.

Miyake was well known as the designer behind Apple founder Steve Jobs’ trademark black turtleneck.

He also used computer technology in weaving to create apparel.

Issey Miyake was known for his boldly sculpted pleated pieces as well as Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ black turtlenecks (Kyodo News via AP)

Again and again, Miyake returned to his basic concept of starting with a single piece of cloth — be it draped, folded, cut or wrapped.

Over the years, he took inspiration from a variety of cultures and societal motifs, as well as everyday items — plastic, rattan, “washi” paper, jute, horsehair, foil, yarn, batik, indigo dyes and wiring.

He collaborated with furniture and interior designer Shiro Kuramata, photographer Irving Penn, choreographer and director Maurice Bejart, pottery maker Lucie Rie and Ballet Frankfurt.

In 1992, Miyake was commissioned to design the official Olympic uniform for Lithuania, which had just gained independence from the Soviet Union.

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Born in Hiroshima in 1938, Miyake was a star as soon as he hit the European runways. His brown top, which combined the Japanese sewn fabric called “sashiko” with raw silk knit, was splashed on the cover of the September 1973 issue of Elle magazine.

“Designing is like a living organism in that it pursues what matters for its well-being and continuity,” Miyake once wrote in his book.

His office confirmed a private funeral had already been held and other ceremonies will not be held in accordance with Miyake’s wishes.

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