At the close of Balenciaga’s house in 1968, Issey Miyake witnessed, as a design assistant at the atelier of Guy Laroche, the May 1968 student revolts in Paris, with the motto “sous les pavés la plage”.
The freedom and rebellious, creative spirit of these revolts inspired Miyake: when he established his own house in 1970, he did not want to create ‘classical’ fashion, but future-oriented, international clothes which could be worn universally. His approach of mixing art with science has resulted in many successful concepts: Pleats Please, APOC and 132.5 are all examples of cutting-edge design innovations with utopian ideas behind it.
Contemporary themes like gender neutrality, cutting out textile waste and the use of natural fibres in combination with high tech technologies have always played a part in his work.
The concept of ‘ma’, or the space between the body and the garment, the indeterminate space which the body inhabits, brings about a lot of freedom for the wearer. Many of Miyake’s clients feel great in his creations since they provide freedom of movement and a gentle touch, different to most form-fitting fashions of today. Freedom and a sense of fun are central to all Miyake’s creations, which incorporate cutting principles and an obsession with simplicity similar to Vionnet’s cuts, and a bold imagination. He fuses a love for tradition with a vision of the future.
His creations have been used often for dance productions, since bodies in motion show very well the lively energy inherent to Miyake’s creations. Photographer Francis Giacobetti has photographed Miyake’s Pleats Please creations from 1980 til today, creating iconic, graphic images which capture the imagination:
“His creations are like music. Music that surrounds bodies and women. His dreamlike inventions are like an invitation to dance. Miyake is the couturier who has already given shape to an elegance of the future.” Francis Giacobetti
Game Changers. Reinventing the 20th Century Silhouette until 14th August at MoMu Antwerp