Jun Ashida, founder of the eponymous brand and a former personal designer for Empress Michiko, died Saturday of pneumonia at his home in Tokyo. He was 88.
The youngest of eight children in a doctor’s family, Ashida decided to become a fashion designer after experiencing culture shock when he saw the clothes of one of his elder brothers and his wife when they returned from the United States before World War II.
He studied under Junichi Nakahara, an artist with influence over a wide range of areas at the time, including magazines, fashion and interior design.
In 1960, Ashida became a consulting designer for the Takashimaya Co. department store chain, and in 1963 he launched a clothing brand, the predecessor of his own Jun Ashida brand.
Specializing in a traditional and sophisticated style of clothing, Ashida long worked on the front lines of the fashion industry, including presenting his work on Tokyo Collection runways from 1964 onwards.
For 10 years from 1966, he worked as exclusive designer for Empress Michiko, who was the Crown Princess at the time.
He was also responsible for designing the dresses worn by Crown Princess Masako on her wedding day in 1993.
Ashida designed the official uniforms of the Japanese national team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
He also designed uniforms for many companies, including All Nippon Airways.
Ashida was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1991 and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in 2006.
His second daughter, Tae Ashida, is also a designer.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5