THE NATIONAL Art Centre in Tokyo has curated an unprecedented celebration of the work of Issey Miyake, entitled MIYAKE ISSEY EXHIBITION – The Work of Miyake Issey is an extensive representation of the celebrated designer’s work and inspirations.
132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE, 1 Dress, No.1 Jacket, 2010. Photograph: Hiroshi Iwasaki
The show presents Miyake, one of the most significant fashion designers of all time, as tireless seeker of innovation, both in design as well as fabric-making. The exhibition focuses on Miyake unique and forward-thinking work ethic and presents his approach to design through the perspective of his entire career.
The show is structured around three main themes in three rooms – each exploring different phases in Miyake’s lifelong creative journey – that allow the viewer to fully comprehend his work.
ISSEY MIYAKE, Linen Jumpsuits, Spring/Summer 1976, 1975. Photograph: Hiroshi Iwasaki
Displaying Miyake’s ideas about making clothes, tradition and the latest technology – featuring Miyake’s unique production processes the designer followed in his pioneering pleats products and showcasing his famous innovative approach to design and textile making that mixes the new with traditional techniques and craftsmanship – and Display and Visual Design by Taku Satoh as well as Grid Bodies developed especially by Tokujin Yoshioka to display the clothes will lend the visual aid to allow the visitors to fully immerse themselves in his art.
ISSEY MIYAKE, Tatoo, Spring/Summer 1971, 1970 Photograph: Hiroshi Iwasaki
As the showcase is intended as a journey through Miyake’s evolution as an artist and a craftsman, Room A explores Miyake’s early designs when his outlook on the multidimensional relations between the body and the shape covering it has started developing.
It features drawings and early pieces – his body suit with a back tattoo and handkerchief dress made out of only three sheets of material, all unveiling his ideas of freedom and thought of body which he has weaved into his work and design and have become synonymous with Miyake’s name.
ISSEY MIYAKE, Blade of Grass Pleats, Spring/Summer 1990, 1989. Photograph: Hiroshi Iwasaki
Room B follows Miyake into the 1980s and his eponymous designs of the time, which was a reaction to the hedonistic and body-centred decade. He worked with synthetic material and modelled these pieces on a real torso which makes them both very sculptural while retaining the freedom revoked by the flow-y silhouettes.
ISSEY MIYAKE, Waterfall Body, Autumn/Winter 1984, 1984. Photograph: Hiroshi Iwasaki
Finally, Room C focuses on the main themes developed by Miyake in his creative journey. The viewers can here gain a deeper understanding behind designer’s concept of using as few pieces of fabric as possible to create a garment – Miyake’s environmental focus – and unveiling new techniques to envelop the body while striving for a better merge of three-dimensional with two-dimensional.
ISSEY MIYAKE, Horsehair, Autumn/ Winter 1990, 1990. Photograph: Hiroshi Iwasaki
This section studies closely Miyake’s most known brands and collections – Pleats Please, a brand in its own right that was a result of Miyake’s pursuit of devising a new way of pleating fabrics and this technique will be also actively presented to the audience, 132 5 which is a collection a collection of garments that can be folded into flat geometrical pieces that are then brought to life by the movement of the body they cover, and A – POC – where the abbreviation stands for “a piece of cloth” and depicts items made of a tubular piece of of knit fabric and reduced the production waste to virtually zero.
Miyake’s impressive career spans over nearly half a century and the exhibition celebrates his consistent focus on the future and perceiving the clothes design as an integral part of everyday life. He always created with that in mind exploring the relationship between the clothes and the body and pushed for new solutions looking into the future.
The curators of the exhibition hope to equally push the visiter to challenge their notions of art and fashion and fuel their own creativity through being inspired by “the joy of creation”.
by Magda Pirowska
Featured cover photograph: ISSEY MIYAKE, Flying Saucer, Spring/ Summer 1994, 1993 Photo: Koji Udo
The exhibition will also be accompanied by its own catalogue featuring photographs of every work by Miyake taken by Hiroshi Iwasaki.
MIYAKE ISSEY EXHIBITION – The Work of Miyake Issey is on until June 13 at The National Art Center, Tokyo(Kokuritsu-Shin-Bijutsukan), Special Exhibition Gallery 2E 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8558