Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto, who among others dressed rock icon David Bowie, is dead. He died of leukemia on July 21 at the age of 76, as his daughter, actress Mirai Yamamoto announced on Instagram on Monday. Kansai Yamamoto had been in the hospital since February and “left this world peacefully” with his family.
He was the first Japanese fashion designer to hold a London fashion show in 1971. His collection in the British capital, inspired by traditional Kabuki theater and Japanese aesthetics, earned him international recognition and a long-lasting friendship with Bowie, who himself wore and made Yamamoto’s futuristic outfits known.
Other world-famous musicians such as Elton John or Stevie Wonder also got dressed by Yamamoto. Between 1974 and 1992 the Japanese participated in fashion weeks in Tokyo, New York and Paris.
The designer, born in Tokyo’s neighboring city of Yokohama, started his career at home as an assistant to Junko Koshino, another famous Japanese costume designer. Yamamoto later made a name for himself as a designer who overcame the limits of fashion with his avant-garde work. Japan’s aesthetics are of world standard – “that’s what I wanted to prove,” he said.