When it comes to creation, the only limit is one’s imagination, and that certainly holds true at Issey Miyake, where textile research has long been at the heart of design. Fashion is all about answering the question of what can be done with a piece of cloth.
If one had taken the time to collect the show notes from various seasons of the brand, the evolution of techniques is well documented and vulgarized for easy consumption. And it isn’t necessarily a question of creating new fabrics. Some are evolutions of ancient crafts that the Japanese brand seeks to preserve and enhance. Others come through textile manipulations made possible by new machinery or knowledge of a thread’s properties. In any case, becoming a customer or even perhaps a simple fan of Issey Miyake is buying into a fashion that does not come at the expense of innovation or awareness of issues.
At a time where wearables have become the new cash cow towards which all eyes are turned, Issey Miyake constantly questions the very idea of transformation – after all, isn’t that why Ei Wada is invited every season to explore how everything and the kitchen sink can be transformed into sound? This season, a “Kenisenthiszer” produced the sound, attacking eardrums with a woeful loudness.
For fall, Yoshiyuke Miyamae continued to explore “Baked Stretch” and “3D Steam Stretch”. The former, a process involving glue printed onto fabric is then heat-expanded to form pleats. The latter, involving steam to shrink certain fibers in a fabric to create volumetric patterns, had already been used and returned to create complex whorls resembling fractals.
But Issey Miyake (the founder) almost certainly wanted the deep thought behind all this to remain as unimposing as possible. It’s not about technical one-upmanship, it was also about the clothes.
The clothes themselves ran the gamut of pretty separates made complex by the aforementioned techniques, starting with colorful pleating that saw stripes of color juxtaposed with the aforementioned stretch pleating to form prismatic patterns that revealed themselves full in motion. The more energetic the step, the more alive the garments looked. A middle group segued into quieter territory, offering black striped variations that felt like a palate cleanser. Then came the optical illusions, stripes dressing the organic-looking spirals that sprouted over the surface of the garment for a full-on effect.
And to think all this started out as a simple piece of cloth. “The traveler who sets out on the immeasurable world of Making Things ventures into unexplored galaxies in search of new stars” said Miyamae on the show notes. Indeed.