Eiko Ishioka died last Saturday, January 21st, in Tokyo, Japan. The world has lost a great visual artist. She broke many boundaries by just being the best at what she does. She rose to the top in graphic design, heading her own firm in Japan, a rarity in the 70’s. She channeled her visual style to costume and production design. She even melded form and function to design multiple Olympic teams uniforms and outerwear.
What I admire most about her is her challenging herself to try other genres. She was very successful doing graphic design. It must’ve been very lucrative, too. But I’m sure she wanted to keep growing as an artist, to keep adding to her skills. It took an awful lot of hard work and courage for her to branch out and learn new disciplines. But she did, and she excelled. From the costumes in her Academy award-winning turn in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” to Broadway’s Spiderman, to Cirque du Soleil, she always shocks us with her fearless ability to push the boundaries of our expectations.
Her last costume design gig was for Tarsem Singh’s “Mirror, Mirror.” It should be a visual feast. Sadly, her last gift to us.