Eiko Ishioka, Costume Designer for Spider-Man, Dies at 73

By Robert Simonson
26 Jan 2012

Eiko Ishioka, a designer who worked in film and theatre, and designed the costumes for the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, died on Jan. 21 in Tokyo. She was 73. The cause was pancreatic cancer.



Ms. Ishioka's designs, a mix of eastern and western influences, and often wildly flamboyant, included the costumes of the Francis Ford Coppola film "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and for the Cirque du Soleil show Varekei. She worked internationally, and was honored in disparate fields, winning an Oscar, a Cannes Film Festival honor and a Grammy. She was also the costume designer for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

For the Broadway stage, Ms. Ishioka designed sets and costumes for David Henry Hwang’s east-meets-west drama M. Butterfly, for which she earned two Tony nominations and two Drama Desk Award nominations. Her work is currently seen in the show Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, where the web-spinning hero faces not only a gargoyle-like Green Goblin but his army of fantastically clad henchmen, including a man composed of a swarm of bees and a creature made up of razor-sharp cutlery.

"We mourn the passing of Eiko Ishioka, a great woman and a great artist. Her extraordinary contribution to Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is but one part of an incredible legacy," said producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris in a statement. "Her work will continue to touch audiences for years to come, but she will be greatly missed."

Eiko Ishioka was born in Tokyo on July 12, 1938. She is survived by her husband, Nicholas Soultanakis, whom she married last year.