Designer won Oscar, Grammy in wide-ranging career
Eiko Ishioka, who earned an Oscar for the costumes in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” a Grammy for her design of Miles Davis’ album “Tutu” and two Tony nominations for her work on “M. Butterfly,” died of pancreatic cancer on Saturday in Tokyo. She was 73.
Ishioka’s wide-ranging career also included designing the costumes for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and for 2002 Cirque du Soleil show “Varekai.” She was also the visual artistic director for David Copperfield’s 1996 Broadway magic show “Dreams and Nightmares.”
The designer worked on four films directed by Tarsem Singh in which her costumes were key to the densely colorful, visually extravagant and surrealistic aesthetic: “The Cell,” starring Jennifer Lopez; “The Fall”; Singh’s big-budget 2011 effort in 3D “Immortals”; and “Mirror Mirror,” the helmer’s take on Snow White set for release in March.
Also recently, Ishioka created the costumes for Broadway’s high-profile musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”
She was the production designer and uncredited costume designer on Paul Schrader’s highly regarded 1985 film “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters”; for her work, she, together with the cinematographer and composer, received a special prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Ishioka she also directed videos for Bjork.
The New York Times said Ishioka’s aesthetic, which married East and West, “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, and it was meant to be.”
Ishioka was born in Tokyo, attended Tokyo National U. of Fine Arts and Music, trained as a graphic designer and became widely known for her work in Japan.
She is survived by her husband, Nicholas Soultanakis, whom she married in 2011; her mother; two brothers; and a sister.