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Ashida, who designed clothes for imperial family, dies at 88

Jun Ashida (Kyodo)

TOKYO (KYodo) -- Renowned Japanese fashion designer Jun Ashida, whose creations include clothes for the imperial family, died of pneumonia last week, his office said Monday. He was 88.

    Recognized for his elegant style, Ashida was appointed in 1966 as the exclusive designer for then Crown Princess Michiko, the current empress. He presented his first collection in Paris in 1977.

    He died on Saturday at his home in Tokyo, according to the office.

    Ashida also designed the uniforms of Japan's national teams for the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima and the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

    Born into the house of a Japanese doctor on the Korean Peninsula, Ashida studied under artist and designer Junichi Nakahara. Ashida then became consulting designer at department store Takashimaya before launching his own brand.

    He received a number of domestic and international awards, including from France, Italy and Luxembourg.

    Other designers lamented his death.

    "Mr. Ashida laid the foundation for Japanese fashion. I'm shocked and sorry to hear about the loss," said Yumi Katsura.

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