Innovative costume designer and art director Eiko Ishioka has died aged 73. Ms Ishioka will surely be best remembered for her Oscar winning costumes in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), which included Vlad III the Impaler’s (Gary Oldman) eye-popping suit of armour that resembled the structural configuration of human muscles and provocative Gothic dresses worn by The Brides.
Tokyo born Eiko Ishioka also designed costumes for 2011 fantasy drama Immortals. Regular collaborator, director Tarsem Singh, known for his judicious use of extravagant headwear, employed Ms Ishioka to create an array of imaginative ensembles based on Greek mythology. A modest résumé of ten feature films takes nothing away from Eiko Ishioka’s influence on the industry – her intricate craftsmanship was astonishing – or the creative arts as a whole.
In 1986, Ms Ishioka won a Grammy award for her sparse design of Miles Davis’ album Tutu. Thirteen years later she created costumes for Grace Jones’ Hurricane tour; Grace Jones of course is not someone known for wearing anything remotely conventional. Eiko Ishioka also wrote two books on art, was costume designer for the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony and brought her avant-garde vision to Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
The New York Times features a much more detailed rundown of Eiko Ishioka’s varied career so we strongly advise visiting there. Ms Ishioka’s response to Jennifer Lopez requesting costumes be made more comfortable in The Cell (2000, directed by Tarsem Singh) amusingly sums up her whole approach to the craft: “No, you’re supposed to be tortured”. In other words, art is not intended to be comfortable.
Eiko Ishioka died of pancreatic cancer on 21st January. Her last film as costume designer, Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White (directed by Tarsem Singh) is released on 16th March.
Source: The New York Times
© 2012 – 2013, Christopher Laverty.