Tuesday 28 June 2016

The Poetry of Space: Issey Miyake's New Collection in Paris SS17

Issey Miyake's fluid and relaxed collection inspired by the blank, white page at the beginning of the creative process. Cover picture and all photographs by Elli Ioannou 
Issey Miyake's new collection for SS17 in Paris was held in a vast open-air atrium at the city's Pierre and Marie Curie University with models criss-crossing the enormous space, wearing clothes that became increasingly more colourful, inspired by India's Holi festival. Story and photographs by special correspondent Elli Ioannou

The vast open-air atrium that housed the runway
IT was another hot and humid day of Parisian summer when Issey Miyake's new collection was shown in the monumental courtyard at the Pierre and Marie Curie University. The guests at the Japanese fashion house's shows are often the most colourful and individually dressed crowds during Paris Fashion Week and this season offered a visual feast for both street style photographers and the press. Aptly titled Journey from a White Page and inspired by India’s Holi Festival held in the spring and also known as the festival of colour because of the celebratory pigment throwing, Issey Miyake's new collection is about the process of beginning. The physical space of the fashion show provided the ultimate blank canvas for Issey Miyake's creative director, Yusuke Takahashi. The choice of place reflected the theme and story behind the new collection.

Tokyo psych folk band: Kikagaku Moyo 
The runway was created in the immense open atrium, designed by Periperique Architects, and partially encased in glass, the square concrete stairs spiralling upwards resembling an ancient Greek temple. As university staff above peered down from their office windows, it felt very much like a ritual or a ceremony was about to be performed. The exposed nature of the space meant it enabled university students and staff rare access to an exclusive fashion show, even during rehearsal. The show began with a live performance by Tokyo psych folk band Kikagaku Moyo dressed in all-white Issey Miyake ensembles with the five members all sporting Yoko Ono-esque 1970s, hippy style long hair. Their original music composed for the occasion is a blend of rock, acid folk and traditional Indian music.

 Model's criss-crossed the monumental courtyard
This was the first stroke of the brush by Yusuke Takahashi on the canvas, both visually and aurally. The group provided the backdrop for the duration of the show, as models appeared one by one from all four corners of the atrium. They came out from different directions, from each corner and angle, weaving and crossing each other and adding to the tapestry of Takahashi’s canvas. As the space between the models became narrower, the music became louder and faster, and they criss-crossed towards each other in a weaving pattern.  At the crescendo the models all stood still across the square, the final brush stroke on the canvas was complete. The enormous space of the atrium, towered over by the four surrounding high-rise university buildings, gave the viewers time to absorb the garments individually.

Contrasts of brilliant splashes of colour 
The palette of colours on flowing fabrics ranged from off-white to navy and from black to marbleised prints. Colourful splashes of paint, along with square leather tote bags created an easy, bohemian look. Inspired by the city of Varanasi in India, and its eclectic styles, Takahashi's range included rippling fabrics with soft textures. The clothes had a quiet elegance with their loose-fitting, relaxed feel while the organic fabrics had been subject to wrinkling and creasing techniques that enhanced their texture. Free and easy, the collection included white-pleated tunics, generously cut trousers, bib-front shirts, and dramatic diaphanous jackets. When the more colourful pieces appeared, they offered brilliant pattern and colour inspired by the Holi festival and all hand-printed. The range of brightly-coloured hues expressed the pigment being hurled about at the festival and the sheer joy of colour. As Takahashi said, the collection was supposed to look as if you were turning page after page” and discovering something new on each one.

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Photographers and guests get ready to watch the Issey Miyake show 
Richly textured fabrics are created by techniques used to crate creases and wrinkles in the material
A model stands in the open air atrium in front of the show's Japanese folk band
 Graceful drapery in monochromatic black or white gave the collection a relaxed elegance 
 As the music builds to a crescendo, the models come to a standstill in the giant space
Models wove among each other crossing the atrium from all four corners
The Japanese band Kingaku Gonya wore Issey Miyake and provided the music for the show
Inside the Pierre and Marie Curie University, students and staff wait for the show to start in the courtyard
Badara Ndiaye was one of the stylish guests at the Issey Miyake show in Paris
Another guest at the show wore a 1950s style turban and New Look full skirt 

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