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Eiko Ishioka Dead: Costume Designer Has Died At 73

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Ishioka most recently did the costumes for the Broadway play, 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.'
Ishioka most recently did the costumes for the Broadway play, 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.'

NEW YORK — Eiko Ishioka, a bold, Academy Award-winning visual artist whose surreal and sensual costumes were worn by Broadway actors, Olympic athletes, Cirque du Soleil performers and movie stars like Jennifer Lopez, has died in Tokyo. She was 73.

Her studio manager, Tracy Roberts, said Thursday that the designer died of pancreatic cancer.

Ishioka, who also worked in advertising and other graphic arts, won the 1992 Academy Award for Best Costume Design for the film "Bram Stoker's `Dracula,'" directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Her dreamlike, billowing designs were featured in the 2001 film "The Cell," staring Lopez.

She won a Grammy Award in 1986 for her cover design of Miles Davis' album "Tutu" and she directed the music video for the single "Cocoon" from Bjork's album "Vespertine." She also won the 1985 Cannes Film Festival Award for Artistic Contribution for her production design work on the Paul Schrader film "Mishima."

Ishioka, who died Saturday, was the director of costume design for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and designed racing uniforms and outerwear for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

A graduate of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, she became the first woman to be elected a member of the Tokyo Art Directors Club. She opened her own design studio in 1970 and was known for a bold, thought-provoking style even when advertising Japanese shopping complexes.

In 1983, she published a retrospective of her graphic design and art direction work entitled "Eiko by Eiko." She also wrote the book "Eiko on Stage," which focuses on her stage and screen work.

On Broadway, she made the sets and costumes for David Henry Hwang's 1988 Tony Award-winning drama "M. Butterfly," which earned her two Tony Award nominations for scenic design and costume design. She also tried her hand at opera with her costume design for Richard Wagner's "Ring Cycle" at the Netherlands National Opera.

She designed over 130 costumes for the Cirque du Soleil show "Varekai" and was the visual artistic director for a David Copperfield show on Broadway in 1996. Her comic book inspired costumes can currently be seen in "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark."

"Her work will continue to touch audiences for years to come," said "Spider-Man" producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris said in a joint statement, adding that Thursday's performance would be dedicated to her memory.

She was honored in 1992 to be named to the Hall of Fame by the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame. Her work can be seen at museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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Entertainment Writer Frazier Moore contributed to this report.

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Eiko Ishioka, Multifaceted Designer and Oscar Winner, Dies at 73