Issey Miyake: A designer like no other

Anne Roselt
Anne Roselt
, Plascon Colour Manager

 

From 16 March to 13 June, the National Art Centre in Tokyo is holding an exhibition devoted to Issey Miyake, focusing on his 45-year career from 1970 to today.

I have always been inspired by the designs of Issey Miyake – the “out of the box” concepts, colours, textures and beauty. I am grateful to have learned even more about him doing this blog post, and it has made me even more of a fan.

Spring/Summer 2016 Happy Tune. A series inspired by flowers; a collection that radiates a cheerful rhythm. Image Source: isseymiyake.com

Spring/Summer 2016 – Happy Tune. A series inspired by flowers; a collection that radiates a cheerful rhythm. Image Source: isseymiyake.com

The exhibition is bound to stimulate the creativity and inspire everyone who visits it. For those of us who can’t get to Tokyo to see the exhibition, it is a great time to reflect on some of his inspiring designs through the decades.

The 1970s – MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIO

In 1970, Issey Miyake established the Miyake Design Studio. Through collaboration, Miyake developed new fabrics and ways in which traditional handcrafts could be incorporated into the newest technology.

One of Issey Miyake’s important designs from the ’70s was the “Tattoo” – a light-brown cotton jersey dress, printed with portraits of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin at the back, and done in the style of Japanese tattoos.

Tatoo Spring/Summer 1971. Image Source: mds.isseymiyake.com

Tattoo – Spring/Summer 1971. Image Source: mds.isseymiyake.com

The 1980s – BODY WORKS

In the 1980s, Miyake furthered his exploration of the body’s motions and form; he embraced the challenge of designing garments using materials other than cloth, and included plastic, paper, and wire.

Carved Bustier made from synthetic polymer resin and polyester. Image source: clausette.cc

Carved bustier made from synthetic polymer resin and polyester. Image source: clausette.cc

1993 – PLEATS PLEASE

One of the processes created by Issey Miyake is the special pleats process. Here a garment is cut and sewn at least three times larger than the finished item. Once it is made, it is fed into a pleat machine which gives it this amazing texture of pleats. The fabrics and finished clothes are very easy to wear and transport, and it is this comfort, beauty, lightness and practicality of his designs that has inspired women all over the world.

It is the space that is created between the fabric and the body that Issey Miyake loves to explore. Image Source: clausette.cc

The space that is created between the fabric and the body is what Issey Miyake loves to explore. Image Source: clausette.cc

1998 – A-POC (A Piece Of Cloth)

A-POC is a process where a garment is made from one piece of cloth, using an integral knitting and weaving process that limits the amount of cutting and stitching.

Image Source: landscapeismorgan.wordpress.com

Image Source: landscapeismorgan.wordpress.com

2010 – ISSEY MIYAKE

The garments worn here can be folded to form flat, geometrical forms. Using recycled polyester and techniques inspired by algorithms, this concept, called ISSEY MIYAKE, was developed in Miyake’s Reality Lab.

Image Source: clausette.cc

Image Source: clausette.cc

Today – NEW REALITIES

Issey Miyake continues work with his close colleagues at his Reality Lab. The work includes the development of environmentally friendly and resource-conscious materials to remake and recreate even better things, and by embracing new ideas and creating unique designs, Miyake is creating new realities.

Issy Miyake Spring/Summer 2016 - Botanical Delights. This collection was inspired by the lively tropical plants. Image Source: isseymiyake.com

Issey Miyake Spring/Summer 2016 – Botanical Delights. This collection was inspired by the lively tropical plants. Image Source: isseymiyake.com

Issey Miyake. Image Source: mds.isseymiyake.com

Issey Miyake. Image Source: mds.isseymiyake.com

Issey Miyake grew up in Hiroshima and was seven years old at the time of the atomic bomb hit. I am sure the power of design to inspire and give hope has been a major influence on him. What an inspiration he is to us.

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