The Issey Miyake presentation began with a little piece of theater. In unison, three models threw wide the transom windows above the show space. "Open the window and look at the world," exhorted the notes on everyone's chair. The beauty we miss in everyday life was the theme. That translated into another exercise for the Miyake studios in exalting humble, traditional techniques in the service of high fashion.
There is something so utterly engaging about this house's reason for being that critical faculties wilt in its face. Whenever you bought a ticket for the Issey ride (and for some people, that can mean 40 years ago), you're on it forever. One reason is that the flame has burned relatively steadily since Miyake himself surrendered complete control. This season, for instance, Yusuke Takahashi took over design of the men's range from Yoshiyuki Miyamae, but the celebration of the sheer joy of life rolled seamlessly on. The only detectable difference was that Miyamae was possibly a little more urban in his approach. Under Takahashi, the emphasis was firmly on the effects to be obtained from traditional methods of dyeing. And they were, as ever, impressive.
Miyake is one fashion house where show notes are genuinely useful, because they explain exactly what it is you're looking at. Itajime, for instance, is a technique where blue and red are silk-screened on top of fabric that has been dyed black. The winning result in this show was a soft cotton suit color-blocked in a blurry windowpane check. The traditional twisting method of tie-dye used bleach here, to take color out rather than put it on. Miyake's take on batik produced a more complex result than the usual, with intense blues, pinks, and whites creating striated effects. When some or all of these techniques came together in one look—a coat, a shirt, shorts—it was hard not to feel a jolt of life affirmation.
And this was all in addition to the house's signature pleating effects and prismatic prints. Were they florals? If so, they were the most uplifting take on one of the season's biggest trends.