Hi everyone!
I have already told you that I study Design in University. And, although it's not a fashion degree, I have always loved fashion, and even more, cinematic costumes.

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I think I will never stop doing fashion sketches. And, I truly recommend everyone to try designing fashion.

So, today, I'm here to expand your knowledge and share with you one of my all times favourite cinematic costume designer: Eiko Ishioka.

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This is a portrait picture of her. And now you have her face in your mind, I'm about to teach you more about her.


Eiko Ishioka was born in Tokio in 1938, daughter of a graphic designer and a housewife. She followed her dad steps and became a graphic designer but extending her field until publicity.

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She even worked for Shiseido as a graphic and publicity designer.

In 1985, se gave her first step into the cinematic universe by working as the production designer in the "Mishima, a life in four chapters" movie. This movie is about the life of a famous character in Japan. This work gave her her firsts credits as a cinematic artist and as an international designer.

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She thought that Mishima was such a complex character that all the visuals in the movie should represent that complexity and create that energy.

She designed the cover of the album "Tutu" by Miles Davis, and she also designed the scenography and the costumes for the famous "Madame Butterfly" opera.

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This representation sncenography and costumes were completely designed by her. Here we can see her skill of making outstandings designs.

In 1992, she received her Oscar for best costume design due to her awesome costume pieces in the "Bram Stocker's Dracula" movie, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

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I truly see the influence that Odd Nerdrum had in her. The picture above is one of her designs for the movie, and the one below is from the norwegian painter.

It is obviously a horror/fantasy movie, so that let her use her imagination as much as she wanted. She was such an innovator as a cinematic costume designer.

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The main characters are interpreted by Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves and Anthony Hopkins.

As she is a multidisciplinary artist, she never stopped, she continued doing important projects such as costumes for TV shows and Broadway shows. That's how her appreciation and international fame grew.

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"The world is my studio, and everything on earth is my reason" - Eiko Ishioka.

The new century didn't stop her, she participated as a costume designer in the "Varekai" show by the Cirque du Soleil. She also designed the athletic and the formal costumes for many countries in the 2002 and 2008 Olympics.

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This was the athletes uniform she designed in colaboration with the southamerican designer Rafael Esquer for the Canada team.

She also worked in Broadway shows and for celebrities like Björk. Eiko directed Björk's videoclip for the song "Cocoon".

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It depicts Björk as a geisha whose makeup extends over her entire bleached nude body.

And in 2009, she designed the costumes for singer Grace Jones tour "Hurricane".

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Eiko showed through the costumes the diva and the fierce that Grace Jones really is.
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She also designed some little pieces for others celebrities like this headpiece for Madonna.

From 2000 to 2012, she were the costume designer for the first four movies directed by Tarsem Signh. He is a Indian director who usually make movies related to psicology, philosophy, science fiction and fantasy. Those four movies are:

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Eiko working in one of the Tarsem's films, "Immortals".

The Cell (2000)

The Cell is a psicologic and science fiction movie. The plot in the movie is about a woman psychologist who is able to enter other people mind while they are in coma. And she is requested by the police to enter in a serial killer mind while he is in coma to find out where his last victim is kidnapped.

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The main actors in this movie are Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn and Vincent D'Onofrio.

Eiko was involved in a proyect where she had to recreate a serial killer mind and dress him in his own world. And so she decided to dress him as a luxury king, because it's a represenattion of himself in his own world, so he is the most important thing but also as it's a figure that at times is related to cruelty, selfishness and ruthless.

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This is a collage made of scenes of the movie.

The Fall (2006)

The Fall is a peculiar fantasy film about an injured stuntman who is in a hospital in 1920's. There he meets a little girl who is ill and so he started telling her an incredible history about five heroes who fight againts a villain.

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In this design we can appreciate perfectly the japanese culture influence from Eiko.

The little girl loved the story but started to confuse fantasy from reality. As the man is really injured he was so sad that he started ruinning the story and so the girl didn't like it anymore. That's why he entered the princess character in the story and made it happier.

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Both pictures are designs Eiko made for the princess character.

The film specials effects are mainly made with the scenography and the costumes.The costumes were made as if they were seen through a child eyes, which makes them more authentic as they are part of a little girl imagination.

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The relationship between both main characters it's so perfect.

Immortals (2011)

Immortals is a fantasy warlike film based in the greek myth of Teseo. It shows the battle that Teseo lead againts an avid of power king. It also shows the relation between gods and humans as the ancient greeks used to thought.

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It is protagonaized by Henry Cavill and has a great cast with actors such as John Hurt, Luke Evans and Daniel Sharman.

This movie has an amazing artistic design as it's quite clean, uniform and gorgeous at the same time. The color that predominate is gold, as it usually represents divinity. Geometry has also an important part here.

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I personally love the fact that women are not the ones that are always half naked in this movie. Beauty equality, thanks.

The movie has been praised for being a visual pleasure, what makes the fights less disgusting for those more sensitive. It has been call even semi pictorical (which is a compliment in art).

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Beauty and violence are both seen through the whole movie.

Mirror Mirror (2012)

This movie was the last work of Eiko Ishioka. It retells the famous tale of Snowhite, but it is telled by the evil stepmother, which makes it peculiar. It has a childish tint but to be honest, it's a fairy tale so it is in it's nature.

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The main characters are played by Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer.

I find personally amazing the fact that she mixed her japanese culture (geometry in clothes), with the fantasy (anything is possible), the indian culture of the director (bright colours) and the european period fashion (big and decorated dresses).

I find this design specially influenced by the japanese culture, and it fits Julia Roberts so well.

Eiko even had in mind the personality of the characters as she dressed Snowhite with colours that represent innocence as the pastels, yellow, white and blue. And dressed the stepmother with powerful and more adult colours such as gold, deep red and dark green.

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Both main actress made a wonderful job playing their characters.

Eiko also played a lot with the textures as there were designs with intricate decorations and others with plain colours.

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In this project Eiko let all her talent to flow and made totally outstanding costumes. They are even operatic.

This movie has veen praised as a visual spectacle and Eiko's designs as authentics artworks. People even say that this movie is her creative legacy and contribution to cinematic artistic design.

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It is a fantasy movie with a comedy tint which make it more entertaining.

This movie was released in march of 2012, just two months after Eiko's death. And it was nominated to the Oscar for best costume design, but didn't win.

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The whole movie is a explosion of colours, textures and gorgeous details that make it pleasurable to watch.

Eiko took care of every detail as she designed every single costume and accesory for more than 300 extras. They were all uniques and personalized.

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Eiko had no problem in creating huge accesories and outstanding pieces.

I truly recommend watching all the movies and every project that she has work on because her talent it's so international and out of this world at the same time that you won't be left indifferent.

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I personally love the costume design in this movie, it is so gorgeous.

I really hope you liked her work as much as I do. If you would like to see more articles about amazing artists leave a clapping hands emoji so I can know. Thank you for reading until here.

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