Satoshi Kondo’s first two seasons at Issey Miyake were an exuberant beginning – I literally titled my reviews on them “Ode to Joy” and “Spread the Love.” They were sprawling collections presented in elaborate performances with dance, music, sport, art, which communicated an uplifting message of bringing people of different backgrounds and ages together, connected by a sense of intrinsic joy. Then the disruption that was the pandemic happened. And Japanese houses are still hard pressed to show in Paris because of the logistical nightmare of traveling with a whole troupe and coming back to a strict quarantine policy.
Issey Miyake’s digital presentation which premiered today was titled A Voyage in Descent, referring to a journey into the deep sea. This was a much more pared down collection, filmed at the Kazusa Akademia Hall. In stark contrast to the packed live shows that are happening here in Paris, the atmosphere of the video is overshadowed by the struggles Japan has had with the virus up until very recently.
The opening shot is a model on a diving board, wearing one of the most stand-out pieces belonging to the key series of the collection, the Link Rings. These are all hand-pleated, and everyone knows Issey is the master of pleats. Their construction is such that they also collapse into flat circles, making them incredibly practical to travel with.
Issey is also known for innovation with materials and processes. The Fluidity Loop series features a new technique of knitting fabric into a spiral. The resulting organic shape has a fluid movement and can be worn in different ways. Two colors of recycled polyester yarn are used, so that the colors undulate in motion.
Movement is an important component of Issey Miyake clothes and the morphing color is an effective signature of the house; it is this which creates all the drama and makes it special to experience live.
There are also plenty of sure-fire silhouettes for those who know and love the brand. But, all in all, I’m looking forward to when they are fully back because it is sure to be an uplifting celebration.