Eiko Ishioka, celebrated costume designer for film and theatre, passed away two weeks ago at the age of 73. Her success as a costume designer came toward the end of a long career including stints in graphic design and advertising. Ishioka won an Oscar for her costumes in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and became a frequent collaborator with film director Tarsem, designing for all four of his films: The Cell, The Fall, Immortals, and the upcoming Mirror Mirror.
Her surreal and elaborate designs added immeasurably to the look of the films she worked on, often taking place in fantasy worlds or the subconscious. She could create the stuff of nightmares or provide the perfect outfit for a daydream.
Her Oscar-winning work for Bram Stoker’s Dracula was also the only time she was nominated. Who can forget Gary Oldman’s double-bun?
Her clothes for The Cell appeared deliberately uncomfortable and drew influence from torture devices and fetish wear—fitting for a film that takes place almost entirely inside the mind of a serial killer.
Goodbye Eiko Ishioka. The world will be a little less surreal without you.
text by Daniel Reis