2 vol softbound folio set from museum exhibition in Tokyo in September 1-30, 1990
Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art
12" x 8.5"
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Issey Miyake (三宅 一生, Miyake Issei, 22 April 1938 – 5 August 2022) was a Japanese fashion designer. He is known for his technology-driven clothing designs, exhibitions and fragrances, such as L'eau d'Issey, which has become his best-known product.
He studied graphic design at the Tama Art University in Tokyo, graduating in 1964. He entered designs into fashion competition at the Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo. However, he did not win a competition due to his lack of pattern-making or sewing skills. After graduation, he enrolled in the Chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne school in Paris and was apprenticed to Guy Laroche as assistant designer. He also worked with Hubert de Givenchy, drawing 50 to 100 sketches daily.
In 1969, he moved to New York City, where he met artists like Christo and Robert Rauschenberg. He was enrolled in English classes at Columbia University and worked on Seventh Avenue for designer Geoffrey Beene. Returning to Tokyo in 1970, he founded the Miyake Design Studio, a high-end producer of women's fashion.
From a young age, Miyake respected artist Isamu Noguchi, whose newness and sense of fun in his designs inspired Miyake. He was also inspired by fashion designer Madeleine Vionnet's use of geometric calculations and "a single piece of beautiful cloth." In Paris, he visited several museums and he mentioned that he was influenced by sculptors such as Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti.
San Francisco Chronicle fashion editor Sylviia Rubin credits Miyake together with Babette Pinsky with "reinventing" the Fortuny pleat in the 1980s.
In the late 1980s, he began to experiment with new methods of pleating that 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.
He had a long friendship with Austrian-born pottery artist Dame Lucie Rie. She presented him with her archival ceramic buttons, which he integrated into his designs.
He also developed a friendship with Apple's Steve Jobs and produced the black turtlenecks which would become a part of Jobs' signature attire. Jobs said, "So I asked Issey to make me some of his black turtlenecks that I liked, and he made me like a hundred of them."
Legendary designer Geoffrey Beene stated that he admired Issey Miyake for Miyake's technique, this in an interview with poet/artist Steven Vita in Veery journal, 1991.
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; the other artists were 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 the art and the people who admired it. By wearing the artworks upon their bodies, the wearers interacted with fashion and art simultaneously.
In 1994 and 1999, Miyake turned over the design of the men's and women's collections respectively, to his associate, Naoki Takizawa, so that he could return to research full-time. In 2007, Naoki Takizawa opened his own brand supported by the Issey Miyake Group and was replaced as Creative Director by Dai Fujiwara, who ran the House of Issey Miyake until 2012. The design duties were split as of the Spring/Summer 2012 collections, with Yoshiyuki Miyamae appointed head designer of the women's collection and Yusuke Takahashi designing the men's line.
As of 2012, he was one of the co-Directors of 21 21 DESIGN SIGHT, Japan's first design museum. From March 2016 the largest retrospective of his work was organized at The National Art Center, Tokyo, celebrating 45 years of career.