Could a dress rise like a piece of dough would? Of course, if the cook is Yoshiyuki Miyamae, the answer is yes. The creative director of the Issey Miyake house has just unveiled his spring/summer 2016 collection that focuses on his new “baked stretch” technique, which implies molding pleats into the fabric of the clothing.
Born in Hiroshima in 1938 (he was only seven when the first atomic bomb was dropped, killing many of his family members), Issey Miyake is one of Japan’s most famous fashion designers, and is world-wide known for his technologic clothing pieces, which go hand in hand with his experimental exhibitions. He has always loved to play with flexibility, fluidity and structured lines, which create geometrically perfect shapes that often resemble architectural pieces of art. He in fact approaches his work more like a product designer than a traditional fashion designer, and that’s why he prefers to introduce himself simply as ‘designer’, without the ‘fashion’ beforehand.
Miyake’s main purpose, as a designer, has always been to create modern and optimistic clothing lines, that look forward to the future and aim to unite different cultures under their different common traits. He spent most of his early thirties working as a fashion designer in Paris, witnessing the turbulent late-Sixties riots, and trying to assimilate as much as possible from the western culture. For this reasons, his brand’s collections always show a good balance between the Western and the Eastern cultures, and almost look like pieces from another world. Last but not least, in order to analyze better Miyake’s collections, it is interesting to know that his creative process is mainly based upon the concept of the ‘one piece cloth’, which explores the relationships between the body, the cloth and the space created between these two elements.
The current designer of the house manages to fully follow the tradition of Miyake and his Issey Miyake spring/summer 2016 collection mixes all these notions into 41 different outfits, creating one of the best visual art shows of all time. The line-up alternates solid-color pieces with 3-D looking plissé pieces, wherein waves create fascinating plays of light and contrasts and almost look like dancing strings of colors.
The first part of the collection celebrates layers with some delicate structured dresses, where different lines of colors are not yet that clear-cut. On the other hand, the second part of the collection features clear color-block motifs, which deconstruct the body figure making it look, inexplicably more slender and balanced. Boyfriend T-shirts and ankle-cut pants are the main protagonists here, and give a slightly androgynous look to the collection. Structured sandals look like a futuristic version of the more traditional Japanese geta.
Butterfly-sleeve mini-coats and modern plaid skirts denote Miyamae’s intention to play with what is conventionally seen as feminine in both the Eastern and Western world, and interrupt the line-up with their raffia-like fringing. Loose silhouettes precede the last part of the collection, which embraces Yoshiyuki’s most architectural side. Wrap skirts and voluminous-looking prints with wavy cut hemlines liven the collection up, and bring us closer to Miyake’s true essence.
Last but not least, vivid green, yellow, blue and purple tones make the line-up look like an abstract jungle or, maybe, like Yoshiyuki’s abstract thinking vision of a jungle, that is freed by the ‘here and now’ concept.
No one will probably ever know what’s really behind the Issey Miyake spring/summer 2016 collection, but there is surely something happy behind it! (Fashion fun fact: do you remember Steve Jobs’ signature black turtleneck sweater? Well, it was from Miyake!)
Photos courtesy of Vogue