Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Fun: My Designer Education this Week - Issey Miyake

I had heard the name "Issey Miyake" before Gilt's sale this week, but it really didn't mean much to me. When I stumbled into the sale I was surprised that so many of the designs were SO FAR out of my comfort zone in terms of what I see every day and what I own (which isn't much because large-Midwest-me can't fit into anything but the GAP). I mean, I shouldn't be - Dayton isn't exactly a Mecca of Fashion. But it really made me curious about this designer and what made this brand tick so I decided to do a little research by browsing Wikipedia and see what I could learn (yes, I was that desperate to understand).

First eye opener, Issey Miyake is Japanese. Ok, I admit this should have been obvious to me. Call it stress or caffeine withdrawal or a blond moment, I don't care. So we'll move on to the next thing.

A Wikipedia search pulled up information on how Issey Miyake designs are driven by technology, making fabric do things it doesn't normally do, particularly by manipulate it using pleating technology. Pleating? Ok, I know what a pleat is! I can relate to that. But wait... I didn't see any pleats in those designs.... Did I?

I decided to go in for closer look...

Issey Miyake's Metalic Silk Full Skirt at Gilt

eh? Maybe a little closer...

The Detail

Holy frak! They're everywhere! All those little folds are pleats. That's.... a LOT of pleats! And more over, I love the effect! I'll admit, it's partially the color, but still - how cool would that skirt be to own?

According to Wikipedia, Issey Miyake invented his technique in 1993, so it's been around for a while. I attribute my ignorance to... just being ignorant. You can learn about Issey Miyake's pleating process at Pleats Please. There's some babble about creating constructing 2 dimensional objects around a 3 dimensional form- last I checked, fabric WAS actually a 3 dimensional object and NOT a 2 dimensional object because it does have a z axis no matter how thin the fabric is... but the writing sounds pretty and I guess I see the point. I'm taking 3 dimensional too literally I guess.

Now, if you've read that philosophy of about pleats and the Wikipedia entry that talks about Issey Miyake being totally driven by technology and design, and the desire to create structure from cloth then I guess this dress makes a lot more sense:

Issey Miyake Spiril Pleat Tie Up Dress at Gilt

The Back

Wow. That's a whole lotta something! And it's quite pretty. It also makes me want to pull out a canvas and paint her. But it still doesn't change the fact that I think the model looks like she's going to topple over at any minute. After all, her legs are tied together as though she's wrapped in a blanket and about to be tossed over someone's shoulder and carried off on some sort of kidnapping escapade.

Concerning the model herself - I'd really like to see her standing straight - the awkward pose may make this dress look more awkward to me than it actually is. The pose is beautiful from the front but the back is just awkward and... bunchy. For me that would make it unwearable no matter how pretty. And maybe that's the point - to be pretty rather than wearable. But to my uneducated eye it looks like it doesn't really fit her.

Here's another example of me thinking the dress doesn't fit:

Issey Miyake Woven Stripe Wrap Dress at Gilt

This stick figure of a model looks like she's wearng a dress meant for a wwho is my size but two feed taller. We've all seen much more fitted versions of this design. We see them every day. Am I just too conditioned to the fitted versions to see why the loose one would be appealing?

However, I have to admit that responded very favorably toward this...

Issey Miyake Cocoon Jacket at Gilt.

It might just be that color for me. I don't know. I have a friend (who also occasionally reads this blog) who I could totally see rocking the heck out of this jacket. She usually likes items that I find a little scary or strange. I'm terrified of bulk personally, but Scorchabeanrmt could pull this off without batting her pretty little eyelashes. Not sure if she'll like this one (maybe she'll tell us in comments). Admit it - the color is alluring! And how comfortable would it be to fall asleepin it during a meeting/class/movie theatre? It's like taking your comfortor with you.

While not my taste, I can find things I appriciate about Issey Miyake's women's designs. I couldn't say the same thing for the mens desings.

Issey Miyake Distressed Wool Plaid Blazer at Gilt

How did this guy get so much paint on his pajamas?