Oscar History

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Eiko Ishioka (1939-2012)

Deneuve with Ishioka on Oscar night 1993The cinema lost one of its few truly unique visionaries this week. We've paid homage before and multiple times. 73 year old costume giant Eiko Ishioka, who didn't work in the cinema frequently enough for our tastes succumbed to cancer on Thursday.

We first fell in love with her work via Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) and it was hardly an idiosyncratic crush. Millions were instant converts and she won the Oscar for her spectacular creations, from inside out red musculature armor to dazzling perverse lizard-like bridal wear for vampire brides. Just stunning stuff.

I'd be very disappointed/surprised if some goth girl somewhere hasn't tried to copy Sadie Frost's indelible vampire bride look for her wedding night.

Sadie Frost in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Best single costume of the 1990s? Maybe.

In the past decade Ishioka wowed again through Tarsem Singh's filmography (The Cell, The Fall, and Immortals)

Bjork, Grace and a few more film pics after the jump...

Kellan Lutz filming a scene from Immortals (2011)Lee Pace in "The Fall"

Tarsem and Francis Ford Coppola weren't the only visionaries she collaborated with.

"Cocoon" is only one of Björk's best videos, directed by the artist.

Ishioka recently worked with Grace Jones on a tour providing incredible sculptural creations. Shades of Dracula for the star of Vamp! Few designers have ever been so gifted/daring with bold reds and cool whites, frequent colors in Ishioka's arsenal.


I had recently expressed confusion and disappointment about her costume work on the upcoming Mirror Mirror but even the trailer misled us and that final film represents stronger work than we're expecting, it's a major loss to cinema that they'll be the last new Ishioka pieces blown up on the silver screen.


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Reader Comments (8)

This news just broke my heart.

I've been loving her for years and the resurgence of her work with the sublime raves she received in Immortals got me rightly thinking that we'd see more of an appreciation for her work, especially with a new film coming. Truly the world is much duller place without her and her vision. So sad.

Sandy, Milena, Kaplan - don't you ever think about leaving us.

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Oh, no, no, no!! This is horrible news. I didn't even know she was sick. Crushed. A major loss indeed. :(

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKurtis O

Yes, the best costume design of the 90's, and one of the top 10 ever, I think

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Nathaniel, I need your help! I want to see SAG ONLINE! You know a link? I'm sorry about my english... I live in Brazil, remember?


January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCláudio

I love that Eiko Ishioka didn't really design costumes but 3D works of art that housed human beings in them. This is what separates her from others who are just interested in clothes.

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter//3|RT

I saw the Mirror Mirror trailer a few days ago and was blown away by the costumes. I had to ask myself if costumes were reason enough to pay matinee ticket prices.

January 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Her work in Dracula will stand the test of time. It still looks fresh, unique and so crazy in the right way...

January 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Her work on The Fall is some of the most beautiful, and character building, costuming of all time.

A towering talent who will be missed.

January 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBJT
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