It’s not a stretch to say that Issey Miyake’s designs appeal to many demographics. Gen Z kids take to them. Their mothers wear them religiously. Businessmen. They’re also often sported on art industry insiders. In other words, the designs’ ageless, stylish and often gender-neutral sensibility cuts through conventional boundaries.
“In Paris we call the people who make clothing couturiers – they develop new clothing items – but actually the work of designing is to make something that works in real life,” says Miyake in an interview with British paper The Guardian. He approaches design from the viewpoint of an innovator and playful problem-solver – which may explain the child-like joyfulness of his clothes.
The designer launched what is arguably his most well-known line, Pleats Please, as part of the main collection in 1988. While Miyake did not invent pleats, the age-old technique is something that’s become synonymous with the Japanese maison. He turned the technique on its head with his innovation; pleats are typically created through a pressing process before a garment is cut, but he did it the other way around.
The Pleats Please Fall/Winter’21 collection focuses on light-hearted play of colours to create an uplifting effect – something we could all do with more of in these times, no?
In doing so, Miyake created a line equally known for its artful shapes as well as ranking high on functionality; light, easy to care for (unlike most luxury garments, you could simply pop them into a washing machine) and highly portable; they could be folded into a much more compact size for easy storage and transport – and emerge wrinkle-free, thanks to the pleats. (Rare is the designer who thinks things through for the wearer without neglecting the design quotient.)
A bouquet of floral motifs, with bright greens adding a contemporary touch.
For its Fall/Winter 2021 collection, Pleats Please focuses primarily on employing playful clashes of colour as a means to spark joy. Each month sees Pleats Please launching with different colour palettes that take inspiration from nature, such as the rich saffrons of spice (July), or uplifting bright oranges and forest greens of sunrise and sunset (August).
Sportswear is elevated through romantic floral prints
The September launch is a pretty eclectic group of magenta, grass green, lilac, and bordeaux to create an autumnal colour palette. Mixed in is an abstract floral print, sported across oversized blousons (pictured) and elegant sheath dresses; the effect is is both painterly and arresting.
The joy of freely playing with colors is something that’s underrated but when done masterfully, we’d say it has a powerful and immediate effect as evidenced here. In these uncertain times, clothes that streamline our lives and make us smile are all the more precious for it.
- pleats please