Grace Pickford reports on the death of the trail-blazing Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto.
The Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto has died after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in February. His office website released a statement on the 27th of July, after his death on the 21st, stating [sic]:
“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.
“Human energy is limitless” was his motto that he never let go of, and he bravely kept challenging no matter how hard the situation.“
Being the first Japanese designer to take the runway at London Fashion Week in 1971, after winning Japan’s Soen Award in 1967 which highlights auspicious names in fashion, Kansai Yamamoto blazed his name into the fashion industry from this moment onwards.
Working with the legendary David Bowie to create the iconic image of alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, Yamamoto was an integral figure in some pinnacle moments of fashion history.
Other stars that have worn his designs include Elton John, Lady Gaga, John Lennon, and Stevie Wonder.
Yamamoto incorporated traditional Japanese designs with vibrant, fantastical colours, taking inspiration from traditional Kabuki theatre known for its use of elaborate Kumadori stage make-up to create stand-out, original fashion pieces.
With shows at fashion events across the globe in New York, Paris and London, Yamamoto splashed originality and imagination into his events through his creation of shows that combined music and dance with fashion. These “super-shows” took place in locations including Vietnam, India, and Russia, where, in Moscow’s Red Square, a sum of approximately 120,000 spectators watched on.