Akira Isogawa is one of Australia's most innovative and successful fashion designers. He is best known for his distinctive east-west fusion clothes mixing traditional Japanese and Asian textiles and forms, with influences from historical and contemporary European fashion. Under his label 'Akira Isogawa' he retails through his own boutique in Queen Street, Woollahra, Sydney, department store, David Jones as well as some of the world's top stores including Browns in London, Barney's, New York and Club 21 in Singapore. His collections regularly receive critical acclaim at Mercedes Australian Fashion week (Australia's major fashion event presenting Australian, New Zealand and Asian designer collections before local and international media and buyers). In 1998 Isogawa was one of the finalists selected in the 'Object design' category of 'The 1998 Seppelt Contemporary Art Awards' presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. In the same year he was invited to design the costumes for the Sydney Dance Company's production 'Salome'. In 1999 he was named Australian Designer of the Year at the Australian Fashion Industries Awards.
Isogawa was born in 1964 in Japan and came to Australia on a working holiday visa in 1986. He studied fashion design at East Sydney Tech and opened his own shop with his own label in 1993. His work is distinguished by his use of transparent fabrics, layering of garments, unusual combinations of textures and fabrics and his re-use of antique kimono fabrics and traditional Asian textiles.
Akira Isogawa is one of a handful of Australian based designers making their mark on the international market. Like compatriot Collette Dinnigan, Isogawa's international success can be traced to his distinctive signature style with pieces that feature unusual detailing, beatiful fabrics and hand worked embroidery and beading resulting in pieces that are collectable and treasured.
Isogawa presented this dress as part of his Spring/ Summer Collection for Mercedes Australian Fashion Week 1999. The beading was inspired by traditional Javanese batik and beading, and was sourced through a workshop in Bali.
The dress evolved from the beaded panel, which Isogawa sought to combine with an unusual cut. He achieved this by moulding the fabric to the body and pleating it into an irregular bustle at the back.