#seamless #innovator #avantgarde #style
Fashion innovator Issey Miyake has rocked Parisian style with his ultra-wearable avant-garde designs and said he was driven to create clothes that “bring beauty and joy” after witnessing the horrors of Hiroshima.
Alongside Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, Miyake was part of a wave of young Japanese designers making a name for themselves in the French capital from the mid-1970s, followed by fashion greats Kenzo Takada and Hanae Mori.
During his global career, which spanned more than half a century, he pioneered comfortable, high-tech clothing – stepping past the grandiosity of haute couture in favor of what he simply called “making things”.
Among his inventions was the “Pleats Please” line, permanently pleated items that resist creasing and innovating an old-fashioned concept to exude fluidity and comfort.
The much-copied futuristic triangles of Miyake’s geometric “Bao Bao” bag complemented countless chic outfits, and he made more than 100 black turtleneck sweaters for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Miyake also wowed the runway audience with his ‘A-POC (A Piece Of Cloth)’ concept, in which entire garments were cut using computer programs without any seams.
“When I get tired about where I’m going or when I stumble, I return to the theme ‘A Piece of Cloth,'” Miyake said in 2006 after winning the prestigious Kyoto Prize.
“Ever since ancient times, in Greece or Africa, every culture has started making clothing from a single piece of cloth or skin,” he explained.
– Survivor of Hiroshima –
Miyake was born in Hiroshima in 1938 and was just seven years old when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city in August 1945, wiping out everything he knew.
He survived the blast that killed an estimated 140,000 on impact and ended World War II after the bombing of Nagasaki three days later.
Although the bombing left him with a lifelong limp, he rarely spoke about his trauma, once breaking his silence in a 2009 New York Times article calling for nuclear disarmament.
“When I close my eyes, I still see things no one should ever see: a bright red light, the black cloud a moment later, people running in all directions, desperate to escape,” he wrote.
“I remember everything. Within three years my mother died from exposure to radiation.”
In the article, he urged Barack Obama to visit Hiroshima, a wish that was granted in 2016 when the then-US President made a historic trip to the city.
“I never chose to share my memories or thoughts of that day. I have tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to put them behind me, preferring to think of things that can be created and not destroyed, and that bring beauty and joy,” Miyake wrote.
– ‘Open for everything’ –
After graduating from Tama Art University in Tokyo, Miyake moved to Paris in 1965, where he studied at the elite Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.
As a young designer he worked under Guy Laroche and Givenchy, but his attitude was also influenced by the major student-led riot of May 1968.
As he watched the protests engulf the French capital, he realized “the world is moving beyond the needs of haute couture for the few and towards simpler, more ubiquitous items like jeans and T-shirts,” Miyake told 2016 CNN.
In 1970 he founded the Miyake Design Studio in Tokyo and soon after opened his first Parisian boutique.
By the 1980s his career was in full swing experimenting with materials ranging from plastic to metal wire to handmade Japanese paper.
Teamwork was essential for Miyake, who preferred the anonymity of his R&D lab full of textile scientists and engineers to the bright lights of the catwalk.
“You always see things differently when you allow others to be part of a creative process,” he told the New York Times.
He retired from designing his Paris collections around the turn of the century and since then has given a number of talented young designers their big breaks.
But he continued to oversee the brand and his obsession with technology continued – with everything from fabrics to stitching explained in minute detail in each runway show’s notes.
Miyake is perhaps particularly revered in France, whose former culture minister, Jack Lang, came to Tokyo in 2016 to present him with the Legion of Honor at a major retrospective.
Lang, who still wears Miyake pieces he bought many years ago, described the designer in October 2021 as a “man of deep humanity, open to everything.”
“Issey Miyake is a researcher, an explorer, a real inventor who conceived and used new materials and textures that the world has never seen,” he told AFP.
#seamless #innovator #avantgarde #style