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Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto dead at 76

Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto dead at 76

Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto, considered a pioneer of the country’s industry and known for his work with David Bowie, has died of leukaemia aged 76, his daughter announced on Monday.

“He left this world peacefully, surrounded by loved ones,” actress Mirai Yamamoto announced on Instagram.

“In my eyes, my father was not only the electric and energetic soul that the world knew him as but someone who was also thoughtful, kind-hearted, and affectionate,” she said.

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This file photo taken on May 18, 2009 shows Japanese fashion designer and event producer Kansai Yamamoto smiling with Japanese actress Rei Kikukawa (left) and Indonesian models in traditional dress during a promotional announcement for the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and Indonesia, at a press conference in Tokyo. Image Credit: AFP

Yamamoto was known for creating bold avant-garde pieces that defied gender norms and featured brilliant colours and patterns.

He leapt to prominence with international shows from the 1970s onwards and won popular acclaim for his collaboration with Bowie, producing a series of outfits for the singer’s Ziggy Stardust alter ego.

“I found David’s aesthetic and interest in transcending gender boundaries shockingly beautiful,” he told website The Cut in 2018.

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Kansai Yamamoto preparing for an exhibition. Image Credit: AFP

Yamamoto’s designs often incorporated elements from Japanese culture, and he famously dressed Bowie in a cape covered in Japanese kanji characters.

But his eye-catching designs, replete with saturated colours and vivid motifs, set him apart from many of Japan’s more minimalist fashion icons.