His design prowess resulted in his face adorning a
postage stamp and his latest collection is about to enhance a
110m-long catwalk at Dunedin Railway Station. Ellie Constantine
brushes up on the biography of one of Australia's fashion elite
- Akira Isogawa.
Akira Isogawa is one of the international guests at this
year's iD Dunedin Fashion Week. Photo supplied.
Fresh from the fashion powerhouse of Paris, well-regarded
Australian fashion designer Akira Isogawa is iD Dunedin
Fashion Week 2011's international guest designer.
Today, he will help judge the iD International Emerging
Designer Awards, a task he hopes will inspire him.
"As a designer, I find it important to stay in touch with new
emerging talent and I hope I will be inspired by the
freshness and newness of the creative emerging talent at the
iD International Emerging Designer Awards," he says.
Born in Kyoto, Japan, Isogawa moved to Australia in 1986
where he studied at the Sydney Institute of Technology.
Since 1998, he has shown his collections in Paris, and at the
Mercedes Australian Fashion Week since 1996.
In 1999 he was named Designer of the Year and Womenswear
Designer of the Year at the Australian Fashion Industry
The accolades continued in 2005 when he was honoured by
Australia Post and named an Australian Legend - his image
appeared on a commemorative postage stamp.
That same year he was awarded Prix de Marie Claire Best
Australian Designer and the following year he received the
Award for Fashion Excellence at the National Retail
Association Fashion Design Awards.
Isogawa describes his design philosophy as translating
fabrics into soft and romantic silhouettes.
"A garment can transcend, giving it a soul."
Natural fabrics, such as silks and cottons, take preference
as they are kind to the skin.
An Eastern influence can be seen through richly embellished
fabrics, and his respect for their traditions, he said.
"Past, present and future" is a slogan around which his work
"Timeless beauty and femininity in my design is profound, in
a way for the wearer to express their inner soul."
With a CV like his, it is no wonder iD organisers were
excited about his arrival in Dunedin last night.
Committee chairwoman Susie Staley believes his presence shows
the high standard iD has set for itself and its drive to
bring designers of high calibre to the event.
Otago Polytechnic fashion academic leader Margo Barton
describes his clothes as "sumptuous" and says "his textiles
are often embellished and luxurious, and add a feminine twist
to his architectural lines".
"People who have sewn or made patterns can see the way
Akira's technical expertise is married with his creativity
through his extraordinary pattern cutting.
"He is a master," Barton says.
Akira Isogawa will give a public lecture tomorrow at 12.10pm
at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, with Otago Polytechnic
School of Design fashion design lecturer Simon Swale.