Among the uninitiated, even today the name of the most futuristic Maison of the prêt-à-porter is associated with a fragrance, Eau d’Issey.
An unexplained and paradoxical binomial if we enter in the huge and hyper-technological textile production which, for nearly half a century, has identified the Issey Miyake brand. Not only the company is the owner of several other brands, including Pleats Please, BaoBao, Cauliflower, 1 3 2.5, etc., but mostly remains in the spotlight of the largest contemporary art museums and in many of the most prestigious magazines and publications of art, architecture and design.
The reasons for such authoritative and frequent awards are undoubtedly in the extension of the boundaries that normally establishes the matter of the work, the fabric, turning it into plastic fiber par excellence, on which to intervene with all the complexity and ideational freedom of creating, responding also to very simple starting questions: agility of movement, comfort and of course, aesthetics.
If the expression that best frames the Miyake Design Studio work, a laboratory that concentrates engineering and informatics geniality, is the plissé, today you must dig into its various realizations, in its constant connection between form and color. On one side we have the ‘steam-stretch’ method that, simplifying, uses steam heat to emphasis the fold, often recognizable by spiral swirls that cover the garment, whether it is a dress, jacket or shirt. On the other hand, we have the last and most complex ‘baked stretch’ method, where the object of formal definition of the finished object occurs through an ingenious combination of pigments laid on the polyester, entering then in special ovens, following the three-dimensional development of the final article through an yeasting phenomenon.
The synthesis of these experiments can seem easy to understand if one only ignores that, in both cases, the teams work on garments that have already been manufactured and which will be in their final and definitive shape after undergoing the textile treatment.
The idea that the clothing can become artistic occasions to all intents and purposes and its demonstration in the abstractions concretized in Issey Miyake products, explain the interest of the specialized press towards the Maison, the honor of being exhibited in major contemporary art galleries and, probably, the opposite unpreparedness of the general public, alien to all that the media does not strongly advertise to make it simple and recognizable.
The images below show examples of both steam stretch and baked stretch methods. Both, having as basic material the polyester, are suitable to be worn both in winter and in summer, in the first case by layering, in the second, of course, maintaining the starting nudity.
But you can observe other poetic manifestations of the Maison in the meshes, with the cosmos pattern hand-dyed and then transferred to the silk-effect plissé, or in the extraordinary cotton and polyester fresco overcoat, where the smooth canvas meets in continuity the elastic folds of the pleated sides, that have the purpose of giving greater movement of the torso and arms.
The weak differentiation between autumn/winter and spring/summer is a further demonstration of the extreme functionality and usability of this clothing, thought-out to solve the most common problems: being on the road, in different weather conditions; the ease in cleaning; the impossibility of ironing; the long use in one day, punctuated from the daily routine in the morning to the evening times of greater social exchange.
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