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Nothing less than the term Gesamtkunstwerk, the Wagnerian term for an all-embracing artwork, is apt to describe the atmosphere generated by the Issey Miyake team last Friday in Paris. The mysterious ambience created for the occasion was powerful enough to transcend the somewhat plain (but capacious) ephemeral space allotted to fashion shows on the Tuileries gardens facing the Louvre. The event opened to the sound of a guitar with strings attached to springs that created otherworldly sounds to accompany the springy fabrics of the collection as they floated and bobbed down the catwalk.
Models entered theatrically in sober black attire, producing self-folding coat-cum-dresses out of space-age bags. They donned these in front of us, inching up into what began to look like upside down flower pods. Miyake’s inspiration for the line was sylvan and the ringed pleats striping the garments were meant to reference tree rings, although their wavy springiness conjured up images of flowing and retracting seaweed too. The magical elasticity of the fabrics on display was achieved thanks to the label’s innovative 3D Steam Stretch technique applied to jacquard fabric.
There was a decidedly sculptural look to many silhouettes, ranging from cubist boxy outfits that evoked interlocking Japanese lanterns to geometrically-shaped outfits that suggested chromatically refined versions of Jean Dubuffet sculptures. The more easily wearable dress-coats tended to be moiré monochromes of grey or electric blue. Some of these were breathtakingly beautiful. Culottes were accompanied by equally free-flowing garments evoking stylish versions of the poncho.
The steam-pleated fabric also came in tighter-fitting jackets offering mesmerizing op-art effects. The showstopper for me was a vibrant grey, figure-hugging Miyakean poncho that seemed to flow like ripples along spring-watered fabric. Another absorbing series were provided by staggered, petal-layered outfits that looked as if they had been concocted out of alloyed chocolate and gold.