We haven’t had Issey Miyake on this site for a while now, and that just might be because recent collections have been a little conservative even in the midst of their technical brilliance, and as I am sure you are aware by now, we do like a little bit of spice in our lives. Well, this collection is certainly not lacking in that aforementioned condiment and has done much to put Issey Miyake’s menswear back on to my personal fashion map, so I implore you, if you are the kind of person to skip over Issey Miyake’s collections each season (lord knows there are brands that I skip), then give this one the chance it deserves and you might just be pleasantly surprised.
A little digging reveals that Issey Miyake (the man himself) has had far greater involvement in this collection, having previously entrusted his menswear to a separate team for the last 18 years, and you can see his fingerprints all over this work. There is an almost exhibitionistic technical proficiency and experimentation throughout the collection, and yet it remains functional and restrained at the same time. It is almost as if Issey Miyake wanted to push the concept of function to a somewhat ludicrous conclusion where aerodynamic sportswear is exaggerated to its very limit, in equal terms being the very epitome of technical function, but at the same time a little unwieldy. Ultimately as always with Issey Miyake the form is dictated by the method, but this time it has that crucial 5 percent flamboyancy that just pushes it over into the avant-garde.
The collection concept was to explore the possibilities offered by using washi – Japanese paper derived fabrics, as a material. If you are a follower of fashion you will already know that there is an awful lot you can do with it (I am a personal fan of Yasuyuki Ishii’s extensive work with the stuff), but usually it tends to result in rough or irregular finishes, and very rarely lends itself to crisp sportswear. In Issey Miyake’s case it is treated to make it waterproof and used in textiles to create stiff structured fabrics that hold his hyper masculine silhouette perfectly.
The show starts conventionally enough, but gradually we see a heavily structured silhouette coming through that echoes what I am seeing in underground Japanese fashion right now.
I am completely sold on this inverted triangle silhouettes – they are both conventionally masculine and progressive.
The show ended with some obvious showpieces made from washi that are not far off what I have seen Yasuyuki Ishii do with the fabric (although the mood of the work is obviously very different) – it is just great to see someone else experimenting with this wonderful textile.
I hope that has got you excited about Issey Miyake again, I know it has worked its magic on me.