Issey Miyake

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Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake, a visionary who always seeks the essential and the innovative, loves to create the unexpected. Drawing inspiration from art, architecture, and personal experiences, he marries tradition and the avant-garde, sobriety and colour, nature and sophistication, craftsmanship and technology. Issey Miyake has a genuine spirit of creativity.



About Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake was a Japanese fashion designer who was born in Hiroshima in 1938. He is best known for his innovative techniques of pleating and for his use of traditional Japanese fabrics. He studied graphic design at the Tama Art University in Tokyo and then worked as an assistant designer to Guy Laroche in Paris. In 1969, he moved to New York City where he met artists like Christo and Robert Rauschenberg. He returned to Tokyo in 1970 and founded the Miyake Design Studio. From a young age, Miyake respected artist Isamu Noguchi and this is evident in his designs.

In the late 1980s, he began experimenting with new methods of pleating which would allow both flexibility of movement for the wearer as well as ease of care and production. The garments are cut and sewn first, then sandwiched between layers of paper and fed into a heat press, where they are pleated. The fabric's 'memory' holds the pleats and when the garments are liberated from their paper cocoon, they are ready-to wear. He did the costume for Ballett Frankfurt with an ultra feather-polyester jersey permanently pleated in a piece named "the Loss of Small Detail" William Forsythe and also work on ballet "Garden in the setting". Miyake realized that the new method of making clothes fit well in dancers. After studying how dancers move, he sent 200 to 300 garments for dancers to wear a different one in each performance of The Last Detail. This led to the development of the Pleats, Please range and inspired him to use dancers to display his work.

In March 1992 he was quoted in the International Herald Tribune as saying "Design is not for philosophy—it's for life." Between 1996 and 1999 Miyake collaborated with artists for his Guest Artist series. The first collaboration was with the photographer and collage maker Yasumasa Morimura; other artists included Nobuyoshi Araki, Tim Hawkinson, and Cai Guo-Qiang. Miyake stated that his intention was not to answer the question "Is fashion art?" but instead to create an "interactive relationship" between art and those who admired it. By wearing the artworks upon their bodies, wearers interacted with fashion and art simultaneously.

In 1994 and 1999, Miyake turned over design duties for men's collections respectively women's collections back office research so that he could return full-time to design. In 2007 Naoki Takizawa opened his own brand supported by the Issey Miyake Group and succeeded Dai Fujiwara as head designer until 2012 when design duties were split and Yoshiyuki took charge of the women's collection and Yusuke Takahashi handled menswear. As of 2012 he is co-Director of 21 21 DESIGN SIGHT, Japan's first museum dedicated to design. In 2016 the largest retrospective of his work was displayed at the National Art Center with 45 years of his career on display. Miyaki passed away from liver cancer at the age of 84 on August 5th, 2022.

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