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Akira Isogawa
, 2003 (printed 2005)

by Ingvar Kenne

type C photograph (frame: 103.0 cm x 103.0 cm, sheet: 100.0 cm x 100.0 cm)

Akira Isogawa (b. 1964), fashion designer, was born in Kyoto, Japan, and first came to Australia at the age of 21. After immigrating, he worked as a waiter while studying fashion design at East Sydney TAFE and Sydney’s National Art School. In 1993 he opened the Akira Isogawa boutique in Woollahra, and swiftly established a reputation for his bold and intelligent clothes. At Sydney’s Australian Fashion Week in 1996, he sent all his models out wearing red socks from Gowings because he couldn’t afford shoes for them; but he has shown at every Fashion Week since, and since 1998 he has shown twice annually in Paris. He has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Sydney’s Object Gallery’s exhibition of his construction techniques is said to have been its most successful ever show. The National Gallery of Victoria’s Akira Isogawa: Printemps Eté in 2004-2005 was the first solo exhibition of an Australian designer’s work to be shown at one of its major art institutions and later toured to Singapore, Manila and Bangkok. In 2005 Isogawa was depicted on the ‘Australian Legends’ series of postage stamps and in 2007 he was named the country’s first Fashion Laureate. He has designed costumes for four Sydney Dance Company productions and for the Australian Ballet’s production of Graeme Murphy’s Romeo and Juliet in 2010. Sydney’s Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences showed the retrospective Akira Isogawa at 2018-2019. Since the Woollahra boutique closed in 2017, Australia’s only two Akira boutiques are in the Strand Arcade, Sydney, and Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2017
Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2017.143