Kansai Yamamoto: Japanese fashion designer dies

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Kansai YamamotoImage source, Kyodo/Reuters
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Yamamoto had been diagnosed with leukaemia and died on Tuesday, his family confirmed

Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto, known for styling musician David Bowie, has died at the age of 76, his family said.

Yamamoto designed some of Bowie's most famous outfits including those of the singer's alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

The designer had been diagnosed with leukaemia and died last Tuesday, his daughter said in a statement on Monday.

Yamamoto was known for his colourful creations and incorporating traditional Japanese designs into fashion.

"In my eyes, my father was not only the eclectic and energetic soul that the world knew him as, but someone who was also thoughtful, kind-hearted and affectionate," his daughter Yamamoto Mirai said.

"He valued communication and showered me with love throughout my entire life," she added.

Image source, Getty Images
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Yamamoto designed numerous pieces for David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane tours

Yamamoto's work blended traditional Japanese designs, including some from kabuki theatre, with bright and bold fantasy colours.

Born in 1944 in Yokohama, he had intended to go into engineering but turned to fashion design.

In 1971, he became the first Japanese designer to show at London Fashion Week.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Yamamoto was known for his colourful works incorporating Japanese designs

At the time, it was described by Harpers & Queen magazine as "The Show of the Year....a spectacular coup de theatre."

It was after this show that he began to work with Bowie designing his costumes for the Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane tours.

"My clothes became part of David, his songs and his music," Yamamoto told the Hollywood Reporter in 2016. "They became part of the message he delivered to the world. He even wanted to go a bit crazier."

One of his most famous designs for the singer was a cape covered in Japanese kanji characters.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
One of his most famous pieces for Bowie was a cape with Japanese kanji characters

His clothing was also worn by Elton John, Stevie Wonder and John Lennon. More recently, singer Lady Gaga had been pictured in Yamamoto designs.

Yamamoto showed at fashion events in New York, Paris and London until 1992.

He also created "super-shows" combining fashion, music and dance - locations included India, Russia and Vietnam. The 1993 show in Moscow's Red Square drew an audience of 120,000 people, according to Kyodo News Agency.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Yamamoto turned to creating "super-shows" featuring fashion, music and dance

Yamamoto had a "super energy" show scheduled for 31 July. His team has said it will go ahead.

Aside from fashion events, he designed venues and social events for the 2008 G8 summit in Tokyo. He also designed the skyliner train that connects Tokyo Narita Airport to the city, winning him more awards.

A statement from his company said: "'Humans are possessed of limitless energy' was his motto. He never let this go, pursuing challenge after challenge no matter how hard things got."

Yamamoto's funeral has already taken place but his team said a public "farewell" could take place in the future depending on discussions with his close family, and the coronavirus outbreak.