Issey Miyake and models at the end of the show | AP Photo/Remy de la Mauvignere

Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, who died of cancer at the age of 84, has spent his entire career denying words like “fashion.”

However, his work has allowed much of the world to rethink themselves through clothing.

Born in Hiroshima in 1938. He studied graphic design in Tokyo and was influenced by the black-and-white photographs of Japanese-American sculptors Isamu Noguchi and Irving Penn.

As soon as post-war restrictions on foreign travel for Japanese were lifted, he headed for Paris, arriving in 1964.

Part of Japan’s fashion revolution, Issey Miyake — who died on August 5 — changed the way fashion was seen, worn and made.

There, the young designer worked as an apprentice at the renowned haute couture fashion houses Guy Laroche and Hubert de Givenchy. Such houses produced expensive clothes that adhered to common standards of etiquette, which Miyake went well beyond. Miyake was inspired by the quake of young people who took part in the 1968 Paris student riots and shaken all the rules of society.

The couturier’s ready-to-wear concept was unveiled just a few years before Yves Saint Laurent founded Saint Laurent Rive Gauche in late 1966.

Japanese fashion revolution

Issey Miyake has created fashion for women and men in its Spring/Summer 2023 collection | EPA/Mohamed Bhadra

Miyake’s arrival in Paris came shortly after Kenzo’s “Jungle Jap” clothing made waves with bright colors and unexpected patterns based in part on Japanese artistic traditions.

Japan’s fashion revolution has begun.

Born in the 1930s and 40s, Japanese designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto and Issey of Comme des Garçons rose to prominence in the 70s and showed in Paris.

All questioned the Eurocentric view of fashion and beauty. Japanese designers reversed the Western focus on symmetry and tidiness, adopting aspects of the Japanese aesthetic system, such as Yamamoto’s use of black in colors such as red, purple, cherry, brown, and dark blue.

Miyake held his first shows in New York in 1971 and in Paris in 1973. He integrated technology with tradition, exploring Japanese aesthetics and uncut, no-tailored garments. He also commissioned high-tech his textiles that influenced fashion around the world.

Miyake’s BODY series included his famous plastic, rattan, and resin bustiers that reimagined the female body as a form of armor. it was done. This was the first time a contemporary art magazine had covered fashion.

cover the body

Early work by Issey Miyake presented in New York City in 1972 | AP Photo

Throughout his career, Miyake has completely reimagined the possibilities of textiles.

Working with textile director Makiko Minagawa and a textile factory in Japan, he started creating his famous pleated collection. Not pleated before sewing (the usual method), heat treated polyester he used the textile to manufacture much larger and then pleated by machine.

The 1989 Rhythm Pleats collection was inspired by French artist Henri Rousseau. Miyake incorporated elements of her palette of color and strange sculptural shells surrounding the women in these paintings. This is a good example of how his influence has always been abstract and suggestive.

His highly commercial collection, Pleats Please, was launched in 1993.

The A-POC (A Piece of Cloth) collection (collaboration with Dai Fujiwara, 1998) revolutionized fashion design and preformed concerns about the unsustainability of fashion and the waste that comes with it. , was three-dimensionally knitted in continuous tubes from a single yarn using computerized knitting techniques as a whole.

The garment was cylindrical and later cropped by the wearer. For example, there was no waste, such as the rest becoming mittens.

Miyake and men

Issey Miyake and his model at the end of the Spring/Summer 1994 ready-to-wear collection presentation | AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, files

Miyake’s 1991 pneumatic collection had men’s knickerbocker pants with plastic bladders and straws. Men could inflate and deflate their clothes.

It was the time of the AIDS crisis and the physical wear and tear that came with it. Calvin Klein responded with hypermasculine underwear and hypermasculine advertising. Miyake, on the other hand, put the zeitgeist to the test by proposing using clothing to adapt the body and appearance to their needs.

Having worn his clothes for a while, I can attest to the liberation they offer.The jacket is unlined and wraps around the body in an unexpected way. Sleeves may be manufactured to create a pagoda shape on the arm and add dynamism to the body.

A computer-generated jacquard weave creates subtle patterns that can only be accurately recognized by looking closely. Textiles exhibit unexpected tactile sensations when in contact with the skin. Some garments are literally served rolled into a ball. It weighs virtually nothing, thus freeing travelers. When unfolded and attached to the body, it bounces back.

There is a real sense that you, the wearer, are breathing life into these lifeless things. Dressing is a performance, and clothing creates a theatrical and practical reality. I want to be touched by myself.

At the 2016 ISSEY MIYAKE RETROSPECTIVE in Tokyo, I met Miyake and thanked him for changing the possibilities of fashion for women and men around the world, their material and imaginative possibilities. I wanted to.

I would like to thank him now.

Reprinted from The Conversation
The author is Distinguished Professor of Design History at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

Posted in Dawn, ICON, August 21, 2022



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