Ego has submerged at Issey Miyake. Four designers from the Miyake studio took a bow at the end of this show, and it was hard to escape the conclusion that design by consensus had acted as a great creative leveler, leaving a collection that, while recognizably Miyake, was also a much more muted and less engaging version of the aesthetic than those offered by Dai Fujiwara and Naoki Takizawa, who followed Issey himself. The staging was Shaker-plain, too.

The collection's governing idea was "kasane," meaning "to layer," which seemed to translate into functional items given a bit of a kick with artful techniques, with function rather than art dominating. Still, the Miyake studio has a way with artful technique, both traditional, as in the arimatsu shibori method of dip-dyeing (used on checked flannels), and timely, as in the needle-punching that united two layers of checked wool gauze in a crazy paving effect on suits. Miyake's signature pleating gave a little lift to colorful jersey tops and cotton trousers, and there were a couple of outfits in Ecopet polyester recycled from plastic bottles that, amid all the functionality, struck an incongruous Gareth Pugh note. Given the thoughtfulness of this house, there's a distinct possibility that the low-key nature of not only the presentation but also the clothes was a statement about the inappropriateness of showing off at such a difficult time (especially in post-tsunami Japan). If that's the case, the studio aced it.