Inspiration | Issey Miyake and Irving Penn: Visual Dialogue

In 2011, the 21_21 Design Sight in Toyko launched Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue – a stunning document of their 13- year collaboration, Miyake came to define a radical Japanese aesthetic that shook up the fashion status quo in the 1980s and 90s.

Issey Miyake 三宅一生 is a Japanese fashion designer, known for his technology-driven clothing design.

“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.” —Wikipedia 

“From the very beginning to this day, Issey Miyake’s design has focused on the concept of “a piece of cloth.” He broke the boundaries between East and West and pursued “the body, the fabric covering it and a comfortable relationship between the two” as a fundamental concept……. Its core design style – creating clothes from original materials starting with the research of a single thread – has transcended generations.” — Issey Miyake website

“Endlessly fascinated by the space between the human body and the clothes that encase it, Miyake frequently experimented with new fabrics and silhouettesfolding clothes in an origami-like style, or extending them far beyond the confines of the body.”  –Dazed

Irving Penn is best known for his fashion photography, he had independent advertising work for Issey Miyake for 13 years.” Miyake saw his designs in a new way through Penn’s
photographs. the images communicated the essence of the collection. through the photographer’s lens, the textureshapes, and forms went beyond clothing and instead transformed into art. to keep an unbiased view, Penn never attended an Issey Miyake fashion show, while Miyake was never present at the photo sittings by Penn. their collaboration was based on complete creative trust. ” — Designboom

“through his eyes Penn-san reinterprets the clothes, gives them new breath, and presents them to me from a new vantage point — one that I may not have been aware of, but had been subconsciously trying to capture. without Penn-san’s guidance, I probably could not have continued to find new themes with which to challenge myself, nor could I have arrived at new solutions.’ – Issey Miyake (from Irving Penn: a career in photography, the art institute of Chicago, 1997)

I also like Issey Miyake Spring 2018 in Paris Fashion Week, even the brand is leading by Yoshiyuki Miyamae since 2012. The performance by 3 dancers in Issey Miyake new collections showed the essence of the relationship between body and fabric, make me notice only the texture, shape and forms, but also the space between body and fabric through the movement. I’d love to try to shoot my body movement in my garment at the end of the project.

Among these research, I like these five design and photography particularly, 1st for the silhouettes, 2nd for the different pieces combining to one piece of work, 3rd for grotesque shape. 

Besides, what I learned the most from Issey Miyake is about the space between the human body and clothes, to build the relationship between me and the garment which representing me. And Irving Penn’s photography also made me start to consider the way how to shoot the relationship between me and the clothes.

Mowen 

London, UK
2018.10.14

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