On August 5, 2022, the legendary Japanese designer Issey Miyake died. The fashion world was in mourning, and still is in many ways as we approached Paris Fashion Week (and the fashion month) with high hopes to see the late designer put on yet another magical display, but that hasn’t stopped Miyake’s team from beautifully honoring his legacy and craft. As WWD reported, Paris is excited about the return of Japanese designers, as often it is names such as Miyake, Rei Kawakubo of COMME des GARÇONS, Jun Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER and so on that bring the creativity, the allure, and the conceptual to Paris Fashion Week.
For the season that is Spring/Summer 2023, the crowds didn’t quite know what to expect from Miyake this year. Would we have a posthumous collection, would it be a true celebration, or perhaps is there a referential eye or even an entirely new direction?
Indeed, it was in memory of the late founder and creative director, Mr Miyake. As the house’s designer Satoshi Kondo noted, “we see design as a process driven by curiosity, built upon a comprehensive exploration — bringing joy, wonder, and hope to life, and of course with a touch of playfulness.”
The show, titled “A Form That Breathes,” promised a collection that moved with life. It wants to envelop the body not to constrain, but to become a part of oneself, not confining you physically or mentally. It’s an apparent thread throughout the Issey Miyake universe, a world of clothing that’s continually shape-shifting and playing with life around it, its forms often springing into action when being worn.
Opening with songbirds and a tribute to Miyake, a pianist stepped to the Yamaha instrument to play an ethereal frequency. Wind machines blew fabric sculptures placed around the room, while a beam shone its light into the darkness of the warehouse.
Here, the first look presented itself as one folded — a white tee, crisply folded over itself architecturally. This informed a slew of jersey dresses, A-line skirts that were now off-kilter, and even the scalloped pleated-effect detailing on the arms of a black sweater.
Pleats took on swirling formations, looking like tide pools or traditional Japanese gardens, adding circular dimension to angular dresses in jade or fuchsia.
Workwear undertones were minimalist; a black jumpsuit detailed down to the essentials, an oversized blazer, all free of distraction.
More scalloping adorned the lapels of coats, bringing the arms out and forward of the garment for something that combined a vest with a coat, and was frankly moving as the pianist began to build suspense.
Now, hems and hips were nipped, rippled, pinched and folded, creating athletic and sea creature-like shapes all over the body thanks to the use of ribbed knits.
The oceanic theme continued with dresses that moved like jellyfish or skirts in seaweed green. For a sombre close, the design team presented two dresses, each a mirror of themselves. Black and white, contrasting their panels in unity.
As a final touch, dancers performed a special piece dedicated to the late designer, decked in softer palettes of what was displayed earlier.
All in all, Issey Miyake SS23 wasn’t just a tribute, it was an empowering and emotional depiction of Miyake’s spirit, one that drove hundreds to see this show-stopping occasion.
Issey Miyake’s SS23 collection can be seen in the gallery above, sitting alongside more Paris Fashion Week SS23 content across Hypebeast.
In other news, Rick Owens SS23 “EDFU” saw a master at work.