If you had the curiosity to unfold this morning's Issey Miyake invitation, the puffy rectangle revealed itself to be a cunningly folded circle, designed to rest flat like their 1 325 line. Musical ambience, an interesting thought or the promise of something high-tech spectacular — there is some tantalizing tidbit dangled before us that never fails to whet our curiosity.
Yoshiyuki Miyamae's best trick is to harness the 3D Steam Stretch ― pre-woven creases that activate with steam and then form three-dimensional patterns ― into fetching garments.
As complex as these fabric treatments are, they were made unobtrusive, leaving the clothes to express themselves. Cut in simple sack dresses or softly tailored jackets, the macro-textures felt complementary rather than overwhelming. Later, the play was in the detailing. Chevrons hid in the pleats of jackets and trousers. The profusion of colors felt more suggestive than prescriptive, offering a kaleidoscopic palette of choices. To kick off the final part of the show, models sported mini-skirts. One flick of a wrist, the pull of a ribbon, and midi-length circular skirts blossomed out as models twirled.
As seasons pass, Issey Miyake becomes more and more legible, as well as wearable. This feels like a welcome development, and a natural one that derives from the very experimentation of the past. More than continuing the work of Issey Miyake, Miyamae (like his menswear colleague Yusuke Takahashi) has digested the results and appropriated them fully to produce his own work. In short, he has performed the legerdemain needed to bestow the illusion of effortlessness to techno gobbledygook. One string no amount of obfuscation can hide, though, is the intelligence at work here, both from the incumbent designer and by the eponymous founder's choice of successors.