Apparently today is silly hat day at Paris Fashion Week. Of course, this is Paris, so what might be silly anywhere else on the planet hardly gets a second look here. Still, these hats are just kind of special in the same way pan-faced kittens are special: no matter how they look they still make you smile.
Nothing about Issey Miyake is traditional, so nothing should really come as a surprise. Even the music was unique, originating from helium balloons attached to magnetic tape. So, when the first piece comes down the runway looking like a walking piece of sculpture in all white, one would think this well-attuned audience would take it all in stride. No, gasps and murmurs of wonder ran quickly around the room. The looks were beautiful, exciting, and fresh, but at the same time so very different from anything ever conceived so as to still be a bit shocking.
Highly textured and tremendously sculpted, Miyake’s silhouettes defy easy description. I can tell you they are loose with an emphasis on wrapping especially around the arms and shoulders. I can tell you the puffy mylar-like material is extremely light weight so all those wraps and sculptures are not going to equate to wearing a furnace on one’s back. I can also tell you the looks are comfortable, relaxed, and run fairly long. None of that even begins to adequately describe a single one of these pieces. You just really need to see them.
Fortunately, there are some more traditional looks in the mix. Grid print and color blocking are tossed together with button down separates that fall closer to the normal Western aesthetic. If the look is shorts, the sleeves are long. Pants and asymmetrical skirts get a sleeveless look. A group of blue/black/white stripes are even office appropriate if one needs that particular look.
When the collection goes to black, though, the sculpted look, and the hats return. So far, references to Professor Minerva McGonagall and Hogwarts seem to be the favorite way to describe these looks that perhaps seem better suited to late October than spring/summer.
Issey Miyake looks at fashion so differently than anyone else I think it is typically wise to watch a collection and then let it set in for a few days before passing judgment. I think the choice of fabric is superb and I find it difficult to not love the sculpted styles even though they come up a bit short on practicality. So the hats may not take off all that well. Still, this is a very fresh, very creative collection and, quite honestly, the type fashion I’d rather see on the street than much of the sloppy casual wear. I really would like to see some of these looks take off and become popular. Perhaps, if you wear them, my friend, that might just happen.
Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier