Fashion

In tribute to Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake


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Style point is a weekly column on how fashion intersects with the wider world.

Most designers will offer anything for the staying power that Issey Miyake has. The designer, who passed away aged 84, traveled the world of avant-garde innovation and mass appeal with ease, becoming known for her pleated bags as well as the Bag. Its famous bao, with its recognizable futuristic shape.

After setting up his studio in 1970, the Japan-born designer became a clothing mad scientist, treating the tailor shop as his own personal laboratory or door. toy goods. He brings a sense of fun to his craft, whether it’s a balloon filled with half a ball worn as a hat, hats that resemble slices of cheese or a group of connected models. in a red cloth, while his show features playful elements such as skillful choreography or saucer-shaped balloons hovering over models’ heads.

issey miyake's obituary

The models are tied together by a red strip of fabric at the end of Japanese designer Issey Miyake’s spring/summer ’99 ready-to-wear collection in Paris.

Image PIERRE VRDY / AFP / Getty

Even when fashion is at its worst and sourest, Miyake’s deep sense of cheerfulness transcends the passing moods of the moment. His unwavering embrace of extreme emotion, happiness, may have been heralded by trauma: he witnessed and survived the bombing of Hiroshima at the age of 7. Like many people who have experienced painful world history events, Miyake is committed to making the world a more positive place, writing in a blog post. New York Times op-ed that he “preferred”[ed] think of things that can be created, not destroyed, and bring beauty and joy. And he helped put Japanese fashion on the map, first launching Paris Fashion Week in 1973. His designs appeared on the September cover of ELLE France that year.

issey miyake's obituary

Designers with models on the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week in 1982.

Daniel SIMON

Miyake’s sense of experimentation has led him to push the boundaries of what could be clothing, but never in a way that feels left out in a museum. Despite his commitment to avant-garde, the designer never noticed that his clothes were far from static sculptures: they were created to be fraying, not displayed. “Wearable” has become a winged compliment from fashion critics, but his outfits really are, in the best way. His works include both size and sexism before either term is counted in common currency. His line A-POC (short for A Piece of Cloth), founded in 1997, heralded the zero-waste movement, allowing customers to cut their pre-shaped pieces of fabric from a single piece of fabric. fabric tube.

“Anything ‘trendy’ goes out of style too quickly. I don’t do fashion. I make clothes”.

—Issey Miyake

His smart yet practical approach has catapulted him into celebrities outside of the fashion world. In fact, a fellow innovator, Steve Jobs, has turned his custom Issey Miyake turtlenecks into an everyday signature. (Jobs once told his biographer Walter Isaacson, “I have enough for the rest of my life.”) The late architect Zaha Hadid viewed Miyake’s designs as a canvas on the canvas. surface of the puzzle pieces. And his collections are a staple in the art world.

Rihanna wears issey miyake

Rihanna is one of many fans of the label from the music industry.

GADE / Backgrid

Miyake’s perfume empire also made him a household name. His first fragrance, L’eau d’Issey, released in 1992, was an antidote to the heavy floral scents of the 80s and became an instant hit, leading to 107 other fragrances. Like his fashion collections, the bottle design reflects a love of structure and simplicity, with a curved conical column inspired by the reflection of the moon behind the Eiffel Tower in his Paris apartment. by Miyake.

Miyake will probably be best remembered for doing more for the people than anyone since Fortuny. His sophisticated line of pleated lines, introduced in 1993, has made everyone from Joni Mitchell and Rihanna to Doja Cat and Solange Knowles irresistible. (The respective menswear line, Homme Plissé Issey Miyake, has attracted fans like Russell Westbrook and Antwaun Sargent.) Comfortable, gender-neutral styles were ahead of their time, and thanks to the system. Heat treatment that he developed, these pleated pieces have become a gentler to wash, travel and maintain.

issey miyake's obituary

Mary-Kate Olsen wears Issey Miyake vintage to the 2013 CFDA Awards.

Photo Alo Ceballos / Getty

Vintage Miyake is one of those brands that remains relevant no matter the season; wearing it, as Mary-Kate Olsen did at the 2013 CFDA Awards, has become an insider by large proportions. But it never became an offensive “It” label; rather, it is one of the closest things fashion has to in ages. Be your own designer used to say, “Anything ‘trendy’ goes out of style too quickly. I don’t do fashion. I make clothes”.

Additional reporting by Kathleen Hou.



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