Monday, 30 January 2012

RIP Eiko Ishioka

Eiko Ishioka is rightly regarded as one of the late 20th Century's greatest costume designers. She died earlier this month, but leaves a legacy which will ensure she is remembered for years to come.

Born in Japan in 1939 she first designed costumes for the screen in 1985 for Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. It was her work on Coppola's flawed but beautiful Bram Stoker's Dracula that garnered her international acclaim. Her re-interpretation of what had become a hackneyed gothic yarn as an opulent, baroque and oriental fairytale rightly won her an Oscar. Her two most memorable costumes from the movie are the vampiric Lucy with her enormous wedding-cake ruff, and the mortal Dracula's strange suit of armour (resembling a skinned wolf with its muscles exposed). She later went on to work with Tarsem Singh on four movies - The Cell, The FallImmortals and Mirror Mirror.

I happen to know someone who worked closely with Ishioka for some years. She was reputedly a challenging colleague who concentrated on the conceptual side of the process. As a result, was reliant on a large support network to realise her complex designs. This would occasionally lead to tension as she sometimes failed to understand the technical constraints which her artizans faced. However, it cannot be denied that her creations were inspired, original and memorable. Cinema has lost one of its few superstar costume designers who could pull crowds with her name alone.

Via Muddy Colours

1 comment:

  1. fascinating read , i only know of her work through dracula , but she was obviously inspired. Its quite a common thing to find resistance as designer when doing new and original things , only you see the potential everyone else sees the inherent problems. to the crafts man your just making their life harder but its that ignorance of what is possible that allows room for creative growth. ( wow that sounds really pretentious ;-)