The death this month of Issey Miyake deprives the world of one its titans of style.

Miyake was more than a mere fashion designer; even calling him “an artist” sells him short. He refashioned fashion, melding East and West in new and distinctive ways, producing unique silhouettes that redefined and liberated the body inhabiting his creations. Miyake combined form and material in singular designs that were whimsical and austere at the very same time. It was an extraordinary gift, one that he made available to all who chose to be open and discerning.

I discovered “fashion” — which to me meant realizing that clothes could be interesting and dressing was a way of expressing oneself — at a relatively early age. Growing up in Texas, that was a curse and a blessing. Football was a far more relatable topic of conversation and a pair of jeans and either a polo or a button-down shirt were all that a youngster like myself needed to go out and about. Anything else raised eyebrows, got a sideward glance and even a comment or two.