The weight of research behind every Issey Miyake
collection, captured in the seasonal manifesto that is distributed at each show, could hobble one's enjoyment of the clothes themselves, were it not for the fact that creative director Dai Fujiwara manages to produce things that float effortlessly into one's brainpan and linger there. It was especially easy with today's show, which took ghosts as its starting point. Japan has a great track record for unhinging the Western world with spooky visions (start with Ring
and proceed inexorably toward Audition
), but Fujiwara chose to launch his show with a voice-over from cuddly Alfred Hitchcock, after which his ghosts were relatively genteel visions. The house's fabric technology was apparent in a strapless dress with origami reliefs, or a full-length piece in an open-weave lattice. Then a more spectral feel kicked in with sheer items: a purple Aertex coat, a translucent shawl over a dress in a pale yellow techno lace, a transparent striped poncho. Miyake's signature micro pleats gave a graphic smock and the finale jacket an undulating life of their own, as though they were breathing. It was subtly effective, maybe too much so, because after a string of knockout shows, you had the feeling that Fujiwara was taking a breather.