A sad loss for the creative world indeed. Over time, I’d mentioned her work a few times and had even dedicated a proper post to her eerie, sensual surrealist work.
Her career was a collection of hits and collaborations (Cirque du Soleil, olympic teams, broadway musicals, Grace Jones, Francis Ford Coppola to name only a few) most people could only dream of; from advertising to art directing, costume design to music video, she dabbled in everything and in everything she succeeded.
“I suppose you could say I’m obsessed with creating work that has never been seen before,” she told the New Zealand Herald in 2007. “When I design, I repeat it to myself often, like a mantra.”
Her aesthetic was a deliberate marriage of East and West, which simultaneously embraced the gothic, the otherworldly, the dramatic and the unsettling and was suffused with a powerful, dark eroticism. Her work, whose outsize stylization dazzled some critics and discomforted others, was provocative in every possible sense of the word.
Ms. Ishioka was closely associated with director Tarsem Singh, for whom she designed costumes for four films. For 2000’s “The Cell”, she encased Jennifer Lopez in a headpiece that resembled a cross between a rigid neck brace and a forbidding bird cage.
“Jennifer asked me if I could make it more comfortable,” Ms. Ishioka told The Ottawa Citizen “but I said, ‘No, you’re supposed to be tortured.’”
Her swan song will be the Snow White retelling “Mirror Mirror” directed by Tarsem (which btw, faces stiff competition from that other Snow White retelling, Snow White and the Huntsman).
One of her latest pieces of work, was the costume design for the Broadway musical Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. Its opening garnered the attention of Vogue, which dedicated a spread shot by Annie Leibovitz to it. (note, the couture frocks featured are not by Eiko).