At the end of Pen, the Issey Miyake
show for Fall 2011, the models were all handed felt-tips. They turned to the blank wall at the back of the stage and scrawled idiosyncratic graffiti. Miyake designer Dai Fujiwara drew a big fat fountain pen, alongside which he wrote "Get a Pen, Gets friends." That jumbly high-touch-low-tech exhortation was even more meaningful given its source. In keeping with his mentor Issey, Dai is one of fashion's most forward-looking designers, even bringing in revolutionary mathematician William Thurston as the collaborator on one collection. But with his latest men's show, Dai dialed down the futurism in favor of the antique wonders of the written word. His cast of young literary types could have been wannabe novelists in mid-century Paris. The retro cast of their clothes certainly supported that notion, and it made for an appealing take on the 1940's trend that's nibbling at the edges of menswear for the new season.
Shabby suits, oversize thrift shop coats, big schlumpy knit jackets…a fifth of Scotch and a half-smoked Gitane would have completed the picture. But this ambitious young writer would also have needed something smarter in which to meet a prospective publisher, and maybe even a save-for-best evening ensemble. Dai sensitively offered both. And then—who could possibly want to pursue a theme like that for an entire collection?—he mercifully veered off into Isseyworld and its provocative collages of pattern, shape, and texture. They make this collection a perennial delight, with its acute combination of Western convention and Eastern experiment. An inkblot-printed shirt enlarged on the literary theme, but it also had an un-literary graphism. Equally eye-catching—a chevron-printed puffa, worn over an olive green suit.