Eiko Ishioka

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Eiko Ishioka
refer to caption
Eiko Ishioka by Brigitte Lacombe
Born(1938-07-12)July 12, 1938
Tokyo, Japan
DiedJanuary 21, 2012(2012-01-21) (aged 73)
Tokyo, Japan
Known forArt direction, costume design, graphic design
Nicholas Soultanakis
(m. 2011)
AwardsGrammy Award for artwork, Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Costume Designers Guild Award

Eiko Ishioka (石岡 瑛子, Ishioka Eiko, July 12, 1938 – January 21, 2012) was a Japanese art director, costume designer, and graphic designer known for her work in stage, screen, advertising, and print media.[1][2]

Noted for her advertising campaigns for the Japanese boutique chain Parco, she collaborated with sportswear company Descente in designing uniforms and outerwear for members of the Swiss, Canadian, Japanese, and Spanish teams at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City[3] and was the director of costume design for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[1] She won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her work in Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 romantic-horror film Bram Stoker's Dracula which was based on the novel of the same name and was posthumously nominated for an Academy Award in the same category for her work in Tarsem Singh's 2012 film Mirror Mirror.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Ishioka was born in Tokyo to a commercial graphic designer father and a housewife mother. Although her father encouraged her interest in art as a child, he discouraged her desire to follow him into the business.[5] She graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.[6] As director of costume design for opening ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympics, Ishioka found inspiration from art pieces such as Greek statues and African helmets. As a result, a large number of costumes that are able to visualize fabric texture, actions, and aura were designed under her hands.[vague][7]

Advertising career[edit]

Ishioka began her career with the advertising division of the cosmetics company Shiseido in 1961 and won Japan's most prestigious advertising award four years later. Ishioka was discovered by Tsuji Masuda who created Parco Ikebukuro from the ailing Marubutsu Department Store. When Parco did well and expanded to a Shibuya location in 1973, Ishioka designed Parco Shibuya's first 15-second commercial for the grand opening with "a tall, thin black woman, dressed in a black bikini, dancing with a very small man in a Santa Claus outfit". She became deeply involved in Parco's image. Her last Parco campaign involved Faye Dunaway as "face of Parco" wearing black, on a black chair against a black wall, and peeling and eating an egg in one minute as "a film for Parco."[8][9] She became its chief art director in 1971 and her work there is noted for several campaigns featuring Faye Dunaway and for its open and surreal eroticism. In 1983 she ended her association with Parco and opened her own design firm.

In 2003, she designed the logo for the Houston Rockets.[10][11]

Film career[edit]

In 1985 director Paul Schrader chose Ishioka to be the production designer for his 1985 film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. Her work went on to win her a special award for artistic contribution at the Cannes Film Festival that year.[12] Ishioka's work with Francis Ford Coppola on the poster for the Japanese release of Apocalypse Now led to their later collaboration in Coppola's Dracula, which earned Ishioka an Academy Award.[6] Ishioka also worked on four of Tarsem Singh's films, beginning with the Jennifer Lopez starrer The Cell in 2000 and including The Fall, Immortals, and Mirror Mirror.[1]

Ishioka also designed costumes for theater and the circus. In 1999 she designed costumes for Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Dutch Opera. She designed costumes for Cirque du Soleil: Varekai, which premiered in 2002 as well as for Julie Taymor's Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which premiered in 2011. She also directed the music video for Björk's "Cocoon" in 2002 and designed costumes for the "Hurricane" tour of singer Grace Jones in 2009.[4]

Ishioka's work is included in the permanent collection of museums throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Ishioka won a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for her artwork for Miles Davis's album Tutu in 1987 and an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1992.[13] She also received two Tony Award nominations in 1988 for the stage and costume design of the Broadway play M. Butterfly.[14] In 2012, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Mirror Mirror and won the Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence In Fantasy Film.[1] In 1992 she was selected to be a member of the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame. On July 12, 2017, she was honored with a Google Doodle.[15]



The 1990 book "Eiko by Eiko" collects her work in art direction and graphic design.[16] A second book, "Eiko on Stage", followed in 2000.[17]


Ishioka died of pancreatic cancer in Tokyo on January 21, 2012.[18] She married her companion Nicholas Soultanakis in hospital a few months before her death.[6]


Her archive has been given to UCLA Library Special Collections.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d Fox, Margalit (January 26, 2012). "Eiko Ishioka, Multifaceted Designer and Oscar Winner, Dies at 73". The New York Times. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  2. ^ "Costume designer Eiko Ishioka, recently known for Broadway's 'Spider-Man,' has died at 73". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  3. ^ Pearlman, Chee (January 20, 2002). "The Way We Live Now: In-the-Zone Outerwear". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "The genius of Eiko Ishioka". HT Mint. February 22, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  5. ^ Horwell, Veronica (January 29, 2012). "Eiko Ishioka obituary". The Guardian. London. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "The Image Maker". W Magazine. April 2012. Archived from the original on January 14, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  7. ^ "UCLA Library News | UCLA Library". www.library.ucla.edu. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  8. ^ The Brothers by Leslie Downer pp 239–240
  9. ^ "Kazumi Kurigami - Parco - Faye Dunaway Hard Boiled Egg". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2017 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "The Next BIG Thing". Houston Rockets. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  11. ^ "Red's in fashion again / Web sales put Rockets' sleek new look before public". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  12. ^ "Oscar-winning costume designer Eiko Ishioka dies". bbc. January 27, 2012. Archived from the original on July 7, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  13. ^ Hirschberg, Lynn (April 1, 2012). "The Late Eiko Ishioka Was a Costume Designer, Art Director, and Provocateur". W Magazine. Archived from the original on May 14, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  14. ^ "List of Nominations for 1988 Tony Awards With PM-Tony Nominations". AP News. May 10, 1988. Archived from the original on January 27, 2022. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  15. ^ Rajamanickam Antonimuthu (July 11, 2017). "Eiko Ishioka (石岡瑛子) Google Doodle". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ "Eiko by Eiko". Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  17. ^ Ishioka, Eiko; Coppola, Francis Ford (2000). Eiko on Stage. ISBN 9780935112535. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  18. ^ "Costume designer Eiko Ishioka Dies at 73". Asia Pacific Arts. January 27, 2012. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  19. ^ Haley, Melissa (February 13, 2018). "Eiko Ishioka". Los Angeles Archivists Collective. Retrieved January 23, 2019.

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