Fashion designer and David Bowie collaborator Kansai Yamamoto has died

Yamamoto was particularly notable for designing the costumes which featured in Bowie's 'Aladdin Sane' tour in 1973

Fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto, who worked closely with David Bowie during his career, has died at the age of 76.

Yamamoto’s death was announced by his official Instagram account earlier this morning (July 27), confirming that he died on July 21 due to acute myeloid leukemia.

“As he fought his illness, he remained always positive, never lost his passion towards creation, and was strongly determined to recover and come back with fully-charged energy to see you again,” the Instagram statement read.

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“‘Human energy is limitless’ was his motto he would never let go, and he bravely kept challenging no matter hard the situation.

“We sincerely would like to thank you all for supporting Kansai for so many years.”

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English follows Japanese. 山本寛斎に関するご報告 かねてより病気療養中でありました山本寛斎が、急性骨髄性白血病のため、2020年7月21日に享年76歳にて永眠いたしました。 闘病中も、皆様にもう一度「元気」な山本寛斎の姿をお見せしたいという本人の強い意志のもと、前向きに治療に励む傍ら、クリエーションに対する熱い思いをスタッフに語っておりました。 『人間は、無尽蔵のエネルギーを持っている。』どんなに苦しい時であっても、その気持ちを忘れずに、果敢に挑戦し続けました。 長きにわたり、山本寛斎を応援して下さった皆様に、心より感謝を申し上げますとともに、謹んでお知らせいたします。 なお、7月31日に配信のオンラインイベント「日本元気プロジェクト2020 スーパーエネルギー‼」につきましては、予定通り開催いたします。 ともに当日を迎えることが出来なかったことはスタッフ一同、大変心残りではございますが、山本寛斎の思いがこもった作品を皆様にお届けしたいと思っております。 ———————– It is with immense sadness that we announce that Kansai Yamamoto has passed away on 21 July, 2020 due to acute myeloid leukemia. He was 76 years old. As he fought his illness, he remained always positive, never lost his passion towards creation, and was strongly determined to recover and come back with fully-charged energy to see you again. “Human energy is limitless” was his motto he would never let go, and he bravely kept challenging no matter hard the situation. We sincerely would like to thank you all for supporting Kansai for so many years. “Nippon Genki Project 2020 Super Energy”, our first online streaming event planned on 31 July will be conducted as scheduled. We deeply regret that Kansai cannot join us on the day, but we would like to deliver his passion and dream in the best way possible. To all persons concerned, we apologise for any inconvenience caused by the sudden situation and ask for your kind understanding. Again, we would like to convey our sincere thanks for your warm support. Your thoughts and sympathies to the family and those who were close to him would be appreciated.

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Yamamoto’s daughter Mirai said in her tribute that her father “left this world peacefully, surrounded by loved ones.”

‘”In my eyes, my father was not only the eclectic and energetic soul that the world knew him as, but someone who was also thoughtful, kind-hearted and affectionate,” she wrote.

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. 父、山本寛齋は去る7月21日、 私を含め家族が看取る中、安らかに76歳にてこの世を旅立ちました。 私にとって、父はエネルギッシュで明るいことはもとより、穏やかで、寛大で、人懐っこく、コミュニケーションを大切にし、無償の愛を与えてくれた存在でした。  また人生を通して「時に折れることがあろうと、常に前向きに、果敢に挑戦し続けることが明るい未来に繋がる」ということを教えてくれました。 生前中の父・山本寛齋と関わってくださった関係者の皆さま、医療関係者の皆さま、応援してくださった皆さまへ心より感謝を申し上げます。 今後も女優業を継続する傍ら、 2020年、年初より加わりました山本寛齋率いる「KANSAI SUPER STUDIO」にて父・寛齋の「元気」をスタッフと共に継承していきたいと思っておりますので、よろしくお願い申し上げます。 2020年7月27日 山本未來 ————————————————————— On July 21st, my father, Kansai Yamamoto, passed away at the age of 76. He left this world peacefully, surrounded by loved ones. In my eyes, my father was not only the eclectic and energetic soul that the world knew him as, but someone who was also thoughtful, kind-hearted, and affectionate. He valued communication and showered me with love throughout my entire life. He also taught me to persist throughout failures and to never let go of a positive, forward-looking mindset. He viewed challenges as opportunities for self-development and always believed in the brighter days ahead. I want to thank everyone who has touched my father’s life in some way, shape, or form. Without you, his legacy would not exist. I will continue supporting this legacy of my father through my work at KANSAI SUPER STUDIO, alongside my acting career. In doing so, I hope to spread Kansai Yamamoto’s spirit of “Genki” to the world. Sincerely, Mirai Yamamoto 7/27/2020

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Yamamoto was the first Japanese designer to host a fashion show in London in 1971, and he soon established friendships with the likes of Bowie, Sir Elton John and Stevie Wonder.

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Yamamoto formed a creative partnership with Bowie during the early 1970s, with the designer producing numerous stage outfits for the late musician. Their collaboration was particularly notable during Bowie’s 1973 ‘Aladdin Sane’ tour, with Yamamoto’s outfit designs helping bring Bowie’s various stage personas, such as Ziggy Stardust, to life.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2016 about working with Bowie, Yamamoto recalled: “After my first fashion show in London, my clothes were stocked in a shop called Boston 151 on Kings Road in London. David had bought my Woodland Creatures jumpsuit with rabbits on it from there. I wasn’t really based there, but I felt that London was the place I felt most comfortable, and where my clothes were most appreciated.

david bowie
David Bowie performing as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1973. He is wearing a silver costume with gold tassels by Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto. (Picture: Debi Doss/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“I didn’t really know about David’s work then. I was more visual than audio. And when David wore my women’s clothes, people were very surprised. My clothes were designed to be worn by women. When I think of it, it was a bizarre thing for him to do. Luckily David had a very slim body and they fit him very well — no fittings.”

Yamamoto added: “Some sort of chemical reaction took place: my clothes became part of David, his songs and his music. They became part of the message he delivered to the world. He even wanted to go a bit crazier.”

Bowie’s official Twitter account paid tribute to Yamamoto this morning — you can see their post below.

Yamamoto’s Instagram account confirmed that the online streaming event the late designer was working on, Nippon Genki Project 2020 Super Energy, “will be conducted as scheduled” on Friday (July 31).

“We deeply regret that Kansai cannot join us on the day, but we would like to deliver his passion and dream in the best way possible,” the statement added.

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