PFW SS15: Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake is one of those houses that quietly smiles to itself while weaving away dreams of its own fancy and remaining absolutely unphased by passing trends and fickle social mores. The house has always refused to do “sexy”, refused to do safe and has resolutely refused to be deterred from its beloved origami style pleats. This single-minded determination is a gene that all the successful Japanese designers share, from Rei Kawakubo to Yohji Yamamoto. The Japanese just aren’t interested in compromise and they take too seriously their role as artisans and their responsibility as tailors to churn out crowd pleasers.

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The result is a house which has sometimes slipped off the fashion radar and might not always be the coolest brand but it’s a house which has undeniably become iconic in its own right and has gathered for itself a multitude of devoted followers around the world.

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When current creative director Yoshiyuki Miyamae took the helm in 2011 it was immediately clear that he planned to breathe new life into the brand and, whilst still satisfying the brand’s stalwart fans, try to connect with the new generation whose custom was essential to guarantee the brand’s future. This season’s show was a perfect example of the ageless woman he has created at Issey.

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At the start of the show we were treated to a playful, musical balloon installation, then while Ei Wada (from Open Reel Ensemble) began to play the first few chords on an old fashioned organ, models slowly walked out in the dark and stood backlit for a few moments allowing one to truly take in the beauty of Miyamae’s silouhettes. Then as the lights came on and the show started in full, the models didn’t race to the end of the runway and back – as is usual in shows these days – instead they walked slowly and gracefully, smiling gently as they went. The slow speed allowed viewers the chance to take in the incredible skill and design which was only too apparent in every piece. From bold, oversized origami hats to cloud-like voluminous jackets each item was a masterpiece in its own right.

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The press release on the seats explained that the show was inspired by the creative power of the wind, and as the models glided down the catwalk like clouds, accompanied by the life-affirmingly beautiful music of Ei Wada, a strong message was given. Trends may come and go, long hemlines may give way to short and the world may be obsessed with youth, but beautiful, timeless design, true ingenuity and a “twinkle in the eye” sense of wonder for the world will never go out of style and will always produce outstanding results.

by Nicola Kavanagh

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