incomplet: a podcast about design history

a podcast about design history

Eiko Ishioka

    Eiko Ishioka was a graphic, costume, and set designer. She was born July 12, 1938 in Tokyo, Japan. Growing up, her life always fused western and Japanese culture. She graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1960 and immediately started working for the largest cosmetic company in Japan, Shiseido. There she revolutionized the poster with her bold use of diverse models and progressive feminist messages that defied tradition. Ishioka later worked as a creative director for the department store Parco, producing iconic posters and television ads that broke with tradition and showed no products. In 1983, Ishioka left Parco and opened her own design studio. Once in her own practice, Eiko experimented more and more with surrealism as she moved into designing sets and costumes for film and theater. She won awards for her work on Mishima (1985) and Madame Butterfly (1988). Ishioka would go on to win the 1993 Academy Award for Best Costume Design (along with multiple other awards) for her incredible costume designs for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 film adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. It was Ishioka’s life work to push up against tradition. The result is a stunning body of work worthy of inclusion in the design history canon.


    1938 –  b. Tokyo, Japan
    1961 –  graduated Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music
    1970 –  founded own firm
    1970 –  ūman ribu movement
    1980 –  moved to New York
    1983 –  published her own book Eiko by Eiko
    1985 –  Equal Opportunity Law passed in Japan; Mishima releases featuring set designs from Ishioka, for which she wins the Award for Artistic Contribution at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.
    1992 –  Bram Stoker's Dracula
    1993 –  Ishioka’s costume designs on Dracula win her the Academy Award for Best Costume Design
    2002 –  Designs sports uniforms for the 2002 Olympics
    2008 –  Designs the opening ceremony costume designs for the Beijing Olympics 
    2010 –  Costume Designs for Broadway Musical, “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark”
    2012 –  d. Age 73 in Tokyo, Japan from pancreatic cancer


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