Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake changed the world of fashion and design, by creating new fabrics and architectural designs that made him a revolutionary figure and a pioneer in the world of fashion. Moreover, before studying fashion, Miyake studied graphic design at the Tama Art University in Japan.
In the 1980s, Miyake began experimenting with new methods of creating pleats on fabrics, that would allow for vehement comfort, flexibility, and beauty. In addition, Miyake’s design fought the standard zeitgeist of the fashion world for creating clothes for thin women, and thus made dresses and pieces of clothing that would fit all sizes.
Miyake believed that fabrics have a memory that “holds” the pleats, and when the garments are liberated from their “cocoon”, they are ready to wear, and uphold the initial pleats that were applied to them. Because the pleats were aiding the wearer in achieving flexibility and movement, Miyake realized that his clothes may greatly fit dancers. Therefore, he fervidly studied how dancers move, and started designing clothes for dance performances. This catalyzed the development of his collection Pleats, Please, made with fabrics that enhance the wearer’s sense of movement, and dancers would display and model this collection. In addition, Miyake loved collaborations, and had a long friendship with pottery artist Lucie Rie, who presented him with her archival ceramic buttons, which he integrated into some of his designs.
One of his most famous works, the black turtleneck he designed for technology maven Steve Jobs, displayed Miyake’s craftsmanship and his incentive in taking simple silhouettes and elevating them through a meticulous work of pleating, that was innovative in a meretricious field of fashion. Miyake had an eye for reconstruction fashion, just like Jobs had an eye for reconstructing technology. Miyake was an innovation in the technology of fashion, working with textiles, avant-garde figures, the contortion of clothing around the body, and creating garments that fit all sizes and weights.
When examining the concept of what clothes are for Miyake, one can argue that it is the idea of wrapping a body that is at the fulcrum of his work. A garment, like any other item’s outer layer or cover, should enhance the content, and prepare us for what is inside. His design aesthetic and means incorporate production and technology with fabric and fashion, as well as a clear vision of women’s bodies. It is this concept of wrapping a body that we at Dan Alexander and Co have found so inspiring and relevant for our work as displaying various packaging for designers over the years.
One cannot mention Miyake without references to the brilliant collaboration done with designer artist Ikko Tanaka. The same artwork transferred from Tanaka’s poster to Miyake’s garments is part of the Dan Alexander collection at Chateau Cramirat.