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Issey Miyake: Colour Blocking and Remarkable Silhouettes

Issey Miyake: Colour Blocking and Remarkable Silhouettes

Famous for his pleated clothing, Issey Miyake passed away in Tokyo, Japan, in August 2022, more than six months ago. Together with Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, the Plisse Please fashion designer was a prominent member of the Japanese designers. He became well-known for their ground-breaking and original clothing. There is still a tinge of sadness whenever a new collection comes out. But his legacy lives on as we wait in anticipation for their newest offering during Paris Fashion Week in 2023.

Trio SR9, a live percussion group, performed at the beginning of their F/W show. The Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris was the chosen location of the show. The music emphasised the collection’s theme, The Square and Beyond, by using large xylophones and glass harps that reverberate around the space. The initial inspiration for this season’s design came from square shapes and the unusual ways clothing can incorporate them. Along with other professions that use squares in their work, such as those that create canvas, music scores, and fabric.

With the brand now headed by Satoshi Kondo, the collection begins with striking colour blocking and wide silhouettes that highlight various body features, like the shoulders and waist. The designers chose to fold the textiles into classic origami squares to produce sculptured drapes and layers in the clothing. Lots of style lines and gatherings of fabric add volume where it’s necessary. All this happens while mixing materials to demonstrate a contrast in texture and sheen. Knitwear is a major component of the entire collection. This decision adds texture and modifies squares across the body to fit the figure. 

Extensive Experimentation

It is obvious that there was extensive experimentation with design and silhouette. It is exactly this experimentation that makes me respect the creative vision behind the collection. They have stayed true to their design ethos successfully. This is because everyone knows them for promoting cutting-edge concepts and attempting to be unconventional with their designs.

In the middle of the exhibition, stripes were employed to divide apart different body parts. This idea made patterns and prints more evident. As the colour narrative became darker and more intense, the designer added checkered prints to create a cosier vibe. This was achieved by covering the models head to toe. The outfits also had textures that resembled the 3D Shibori method of Japanese fabric manipulation. This technique managed to distort shapes out of fabric at each cross-section of each square. In order to eventually turn this texture into a garment, a large-scale fabric that was shrunk down at high heat is used.

Trademark Plisse Pleating by Issey Miyake

The brand used Issey Miyake’s trademark plissé pleating to form around the feminine figure. They achieved this while also producing the same broad-draped designs we saw at the beginning in this fabric. The knit clothing’s pleating, which unites the neck and body pieces, is constructed using a double knitting technique. The collection for me came full circle at this point. In fact, Miyake’s pleating still has the same impact it did years ago.

Later, outerwear that the brand claimed served as its primary source of inspiration throughout the early phases of development was exhibited with large printed squares. Employing big, angular squares and rectangles draped over the body with little to no extra waste, which is considerate and crucial in today’s industry. Given that the brand made a conscious choice to limit waste while designing the collection, this may have been one of my favourite segments of the show.

To complement the patterns of the clothing, the chosen accessories were abstract hats and bags. While some were enormous and quilted, others were draped leather handbags that the models wore in hand. Particularly, I envision leather bags becoming very popular with fashion enthusiasts. They styled the models’ hair in angular parts and slicked back for a neat appearance, and they wore boots appropriate for the season.

The presentation as a whole contrasts the angular, structural, and rigid components of the prints and tailoring with the fluidity, rhythm, and texture seen in the drape throughout the collection. Issey Miyake has demonstrated numerous methods to alter a square into various interpretations, once again highlighting the brand’s creative attitude of turning something straightforward into something remarkable.

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