5 of Issey Miyake’s most iconic designs

Issey Miyake signs a copy of his book “East Meets West” duringStudio 54’s Anniversary party, 1978 via John Bright/WWD

One of Japan’s most innovative designers, Issey Miyake, sadly passed away yesterday morning following a long battle with liver cancer.

Like his contemporaries Rei Kawakubo and Kansai Yamamoto, Miyake loved to experiment with fabric. Throughout the 1980s, he played around with the fortuny pleat, which allowed for the body to move freely, while also embodying more rigid, high end silhouettes. Meshing together technology and humanism, he combined basics like black turtlenecks a la Steve Jobs (literally!) with futuristic dresses and bright colours.

“I prefer to think of things that can be created, not destroyed, and that bring beauty and joy,” he wrote in the New York Times in 2008.

His youth was filled with dreams of becoming an athlete or a dancer but a peak into his sister’s fashion magazines changed Miyake’s career path. After studying graphic design and entering a fashion competition at the Bunka Fashion College, he attended the Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. There, he became an apprentice to Guy Laroche and Hubert de Givenchy and, after briefly moving to New York, he founded Miyake Design Studio in 1970.

Issey Miyake S/S 1995 show
Steve Jobs October 2004 Tim Mosenfelder—Getty Images
Issey Miyake S/S at Paris Fashion Week 2018
Yasumara Morimura’s artwork on Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please turtleneck dress.
ROBERT KIRK/FAIRCHILD ARCHIVE via WWD
Romney Russo in Issey Miyake A/W 1980

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