Kansai Yamamoto, Japanese fashion designer who outfitted David Bowie, dies aged 76
Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto, renowned for his flamboyant creations and work on costumes for singer David Bowie - especially Ziggy Stardust - has died of leukaemia, his company announced earlier today. He was 76-years-old.
Yamamoto was popular for creating bold avant-garde pieces that defied gender norms and featured brilliant colours and patterns.
The designer debuted at 1971 London Fashion Week and became the first Japanese designer to showcase his designs there. His work was a blend of traditional Japanese motifs - including designs from kabuki theatre - with fantasy in bright, bold designs.
His London debut brought him international recognition and it’s also where he built a long-lasting friendship with popular musicians including late English singer-songwriter David Bowie, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.
Yamamoto has also shown his designs in the Tokyo, New York and Paris fashion weeks from 1974 to 1992, according to his company’s website.
His eclectic designs often incorporated elements from Japanese culture. He has famously dressed Bowie in a cape covered in kanji, one of the three Japanese scripts.
Born in 1944 in Yokohama, Yamamoto first entered university to study engineering before turning to fashion design. In one of his final Tokyo shows before turning primarily to becoming an event planner in 1993, Yamamoto paired chiffon minis with silvery lizard jackets in typical quirky style.
Yamamoto believed that “Human energy is limitless” - which was also his motto in life.
On Instagram, in a message in both Japanese and English, his company announced about the designer’s demise a week ago. They said, “It is with immense sadness that we announce that Kansai Yamamoto has passed away on 21 July, 2020 due to acute myeloid leukemia. He was 76 years old.”
“As he fought his illness, he remained always positive, never lost his passion towards creation, and was strongly determined to recover and come back with fully-charged energy to see you again.”
Speaking about the upcoming Nippon Genki Project 2020 Super Energy, the brand’s first online streaming event planned on July 31, they confirmed that it “will be conducted as scheduled. We deeply regret that Kansai cannot join us on the day, but we would like to deliver his passion and dream in the best way possible.”
-- with Reuters inputs