I must say that for a Friday in the middle of Paris Fashion Week, today certainly has gotten off to a very interesting start. So much so that I’m almost fearful of what may await us at the Dior show later this afternoon. We’ve already seen dresses inspired by and covered with false finger nails at Chalayan. What, possibly, could Issy Miyake have for us with a collection themed, “Rhythmatic Forest?”

Let’s start with the music. Live music at fashion shows is still a little uncommon, mostly because it is expensive and to no small degree because it creates yet another layer of worrisome logistics on top of an already hectic production. When the music is live, it tends to be loud, pounding, and often a bit overwhelming. We’ll have none of that this morning, thank you. Instead, we are greeted by the wonderful, enchanting sounds of Ei Wada’s earth guitar, a sound that is wholly unique and very calming. Ah, this is what we all need piped into our bedrooms at night. If you’re not familiar with Ei Wada and Chiyako, let me strongly suggest one do a bit of Googling.

Against that calming background, then, Miyake’s models come out smiling, dressed in black, and carrying very attractive purses. They then stop, set the purse on the runway, and pull out their brightly colored dress and put it on! Getting dressed right there, smack in the middle of the runway! Talk about a pack-and-go wardrobe! These are not tiny little dresses, either! One quick shake and these things expand into voluminous pieces that require the wearer to excuse themselves as they work their way through crowded hallways or parties. Miyake is exploring the very latest in new fabric technology with something he calls “ringed pleats” and “3D steam stretch.” While he only uses the dress-on-the-catwalk gimmick for the first few looks (thank goodness, or we’d still be there), he utilizes the same material and methods throughout this collection.

Nothing in this fall/winter collection could be described as simple. Throughout, there are layers upon layers hidden by other layers and folds and drapes that at times seem to be endless. Yet, for all the visual complexity in these ensembles, the greater majority are highly wearable, incredibly practical, and seasonally perfect for a cold winter that doesn’t want to seem to ever end. Miyake’s patterns are bright, geometric, and very attractive. My favorite has to be a blue/green piece that reminds me very much of stained glass. Colors run the gamut of jewel tones, but manage to do so without ever becoming boring.

Silhouettes, for the most part, are full and flowing. The exception comes with trousers on a few pieces that are extremely fitted and probably not meant for anyone who makes regular visits to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Draping and layering play a huge factor in the construction of these garments, especially the outerwear, and there are a few pieces that almost look as though Miyake grabbed the nearest bolt of cloth and said, “Here, let’s just see what we can do with this without having to cut anything.” There is a tremendous amount of fabric in some of these ensembles. Yet, for all that folding and draping, Miyake never loses a sense of style and shape.

I can pretty much promise that you have never seen a collection quite like that which Issey Miyake presented this morning. I am a little concerned that the whole 3D voluminous look may be a bit much for retailers and wonder to what extent it might be pared back before we see it in stores. These new fabrics are wonders to behold, though, and you will definitely want to check them out when they do arrive this fall.

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