[Top Image] 1979 Advertisement for Parco, the department store chain, featuring actress Faye Dunaway with the slogan Can West Wear East? Directed by Eiko Ishioka, costume design by Issey Miyake. Photo courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
The name Eiko Ishioka (1938-2012) may be less well known than Yoko Ono or Yayoi Kusama, but this artist's legacy and impact on the creative industry are as big and worldwide as her fellow female Japanese magnates. Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo is currently hosting the expansive retrospective Eiko Ishioka: Blood, Sweat and Tears -- A Life of Design through February 14. Although most of us aren't able to get to the show, glimpses of Ishioka's powerful works amaze us. They show her devotion to be "timeless, original and revolutionary."
Ishioka's life-long career as a graphic designer and art director began with the cosmetic company Shiseido. The company's design department was known for creating cutting edge advertising. Fresh out of art school, Ishioka said at the job interview “I’d like to be hired as a graphic designer, not to serve tea or clean-up the office. And I'd like to be paid as much as my male colleagues." In Japan, the country still far behind in the area of women's empowerment, such a statement at a job interview in the early 60's shows how determined she was to change the world.
Ishioka's career took off quickly. In the midst of Japan's rapid economic growth, the importance of graphic design and art direction in ad campaigns grew, and so did budgets. Ishioka created revolutionary works with her collaborators. She often emphasized images of independent women, willful and strong.
Actress Faye Dunaway eats and peels hardboiled egg in this 90-second TV commercial for Parco, directed by Ishioka.
In 80's, while relocating her design firm to New York, Ishioka's works expanded into film industry, starting a production design for the movie MISHIMA (1985), and developed furthermore. 1993 Ishioka won Oscar for the costume design for Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. Her signature achievements also include designing album cover for Miles Davis, directing a music video for Bjork, designing uniforms for Salt Lake City olympians and Cirque du Soleil.