Fashion’s ‘prince of pleats’ is celebrated with a celebration of great works that opens in Tokyo next month. Both a celebration of clothes as art, and of Issey Miyake’s illustrious 45-year career, the exhibition will take over the National Art Center and aims to show that there’s much more to Miyake than origami-style folded cloth and futuristic geometric bags.
Set over three exhibition halls, this eye-candy collection will first reveal the designer’s attitudes and approaches to making clothes, then explain the unique relationships his sculptural creations have with the human body (let’s face it, not everyone looks good in Miyake). And finally, it will reveal the designer’s five clever-clever ways of crafting clothes, acclaimed as he is at conjuring outfits out of unusual fabrics and materials. Forget silks and satins, this is the guy who goes in for frocks made from tissue-thin washi paper, raffia and even horsehair.
If you’re going to explore the life and work of fashion’s pleat provocateur anywhere, arguably Japan’s capital is the best place to do it. But don’t forget to factor in a side-trip to Hiroshima — four hours by bullet train from Tokyo — where Miyake was born. The city’s two-way bridge memorial to the 1945 atomic bomb blast was where he first became aware of design’s ability to inspire powerful emotional responses — particularly hope.
The Work of Miyake Issey, (16 March-13 June) at the National Art Center, Tokyo. nact.jp
Published in the March 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)