An ode to the 'Prince of Pleats' Issey Miyake

Three Indian designers on how the late fashion designer, Issey Miyake’s design ethos influenced the industry
Japanese designer Issey Miyake (Photo | AP)
Japanese designer Issey Miyake (Photo | AP)

The world lost a sartorial maverick on August 5—the avant-garde Japanese designer Issey Miyake, who is known as the Prince of Pleats for inventing the origami-esque, micro pleating for garments, succumbed to liver cancer at the age of 84 in Tokyo.

Hailed for his ingenious take on traditional fabrics and designs, and his innovative cuts, Miyake is also credited with changing the course of Japanese fashion globally. Simi Kuriakose speaks to three Indian designers to understand how Miyake’s design ethos influenced the world of fashion.

Also view the web story: RIP Issey Miyake: A life in pictures...

Nothing short of a visionary

Delhi-based fashion designer Urvashi Kaur says, "We have truly lost an icon, someone who was way ahead of his time; a true visionary. In fashion history, there are a few who pave the way for future generations. As a young fashion student having studied in Paris, for me Miyake shaped the way we looked at form and function.

Words fail me for once. This is beyond fashion. He was born in Hiroshima; imagine the devastation that he must have seen around him while growing up. However, he did not let that colour his view of the world and wanted to be a part of something that is creative and beautiful… he wanted to create, and that became his purpose in life. The signature pleated aesthetic in my body of work is hugely inspired by Miyake's explorations of pleats and how that lends itself to inclusive and gender-fluid clothing. He was a true maverick, an icon."

Always pushing the boundaries

Delhi-based ace couturier Rimzim Dadu, who is also known for her textile innovations, shares, "Issey Miyake has always transcended fashion trends and has pushed the boundaries of technical details and construction. His approach towards design will always inspire me to look at fashion from a fresher perspective and forever hold onto his impeccable understanding of creating minimalist yet impactful ensembles."

A technically advanced genius

Known for his minimalistic and sustainable approach in fashion, Ahmedabad-based designer Soham Dave talks about Miyake being a sartorial genius. Dave says, "To me, Issey Miyake was brilliant. I always look up to his work. The fashion industry has been relatively slow in innovation and technological advancement. In contrast to that, Miyake was known for being quite advanced technically, and that makes him different from the rest. If you look at his work and garments, it is not just ordinary pleating. He has mastered the technique by fixing the pleats in a mechanical way. Earlier, not many brands would do pleats the way he has done. Also, talking about his cuts… he understood body anatomy better than any other designer I know of. In fact, not just garments, Miyake is known for his fragrances."

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