8 posts tagged "Issey Miyake"
Uniqlo recruits from fashion, but its aims are larger than fashion. That was the overriding message at this week’s presentation of its new self-designated category: LifeWear. “Yanai-san always says Uniqlo is not sportswear or casualwear,” said the company’s design director, Naoki Takizawa. “We have a function. This is clothing for a new category.” Yanai-san is Mr. Tadashi Yanai, founder of Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, and his ambitions are global. No surprise that Uniqlo’s push into the U.S. and globally in the last few years will keep going strong. The label will open more stores here in the next year, as many as 20 in 2014 alone. “It’s a very interesting approach for me,” said Takizawa, who prior to joining Uniqlo was creative director at Issey Miyake. “Fashion is a segment. But Uniqlo is design for 100 million pieces, 100 million people.”
In observance of the fact that 100 million global customers won’t follow the same trends, Uniqlo is reorganizing itself to put function at the forefront. The U.S. may go in for a different look than Japan or elsewhere, but an American customer, like a Japanese one, wants to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. She’ll appreciate the new breathable AIRism fabric (developed, according to the package, with “Toray Industries Inc.”) for the former, and Uniqlo’s successful Heattech, the product of eight years of development, for the latter. The company sees itself less as a design studio than a laboratory: developing new fibers and fabrics, competing not with other fashion companies so much as with its own past performance. “Uniqlo doesn’t need to change a lot every season,” Takizawa said. He likened its product development more to the incremental upgrades of the iPhone: first the 4, then the 5.
So for the present, Uniqlo will focus on nine categories, both established success stories (stretch denim, affordable cashmere, fleece) and new areas of interest and innovation (silk being key among them). You can expect to see and feel that change in Uniqlo stores come August. But all of this is not to say fashion is being discounted. Nicola Formichetti, who will continue in his role as the company’s creative fashion director even now that he’s been named Diesel’s creative director, styled the presentation of Fall looks to the editorial hilt. (Strong support was provided by Katsuya Kamo, the Japanese hairstylist and milliner who created the headpieces for the presentation; label brass made sure to note that he’s previously worked with Comme des Garçons and Chanel.) And Yuki Katsuta—the head of research and design, who arrived at Uniqlo via Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Ralph Lauren—continues to search for designers with whom to collaborate, and new ways in which to do so. He’s just coming off a partnership with his old Bergdorf’s colleague Michael Bastian for a new kind of capsule collection: one limited entirely to one category, the polo shirt. It’s been going gangbusters in Japan, and arrives at U.S. Uniqlo stores later this month.
Among the hundreds of lots of clothing sold by the Parisian auction house Drouot last Monday were full-on pieces from the eighties and early nineties by designers like Gaultier, Mugler, and Montana, far enough away in time to have the glamour of distance but also still vivid enough to Those Who Were There that they induced a misty-eyed trawl through the closets of memory.
But conspicuously absent was anything from the Japanese designers who, en masse, formed the fiercest fashion cult of the eighties. Not really surprising—the taste of the consignees clearly tended toward French fashion of a particular ilk. And the Japanese were always fiercely un-precious about what they did, so maybe their designs were simply worn to death in the moment. I know mine were. But the omission makes it all the more welcome to see the archive of vintage Issey Miyake menswear unearthed by the buyers at London’s LN-CC. Their shots of the trove—much of which will be for sale on site—go up on LN-CC.com tomorrow.
Dating back to1983 (Miyake launched menswear in 1978), the pieces evoke the era as succinctly as any one of Gaultier’s Soviet sheath dresses. And they remind you in a moment that Issey is ripe for revisiting, and not just because the Miyake collections for both men and women are so consistently stocked with desirable clothes or because the shows that present those clothes to the world in Paris are so consistently imaginative, inspiring, and downright charming. The man himself was always one of fashion’s poet-philosophers, a fashion avant-gardist who never lost sight of the humanist essence of his work, and a brilliant artist to boot. Any one of those assets shines brightly in the current cultural climate. And now that Issey has reputedly returned to his label at the age of 74, or at least is working more closely with his protégés, it’s an ideal time to reflect on the weight of his career—or, rather, the ineffable, enchanting lightness of it.
After five years at the helm of Issey Miyake, Dai Fujiwara stepped down after the Fall ’11 men’s and women’s collections. The Japanese label announced today who would be stepping into his sizable shoes. (Tim Blanks called Fujiwara’s work for the label “an education…in the gentlest way” and his time at the brand “a pioneering moment in fashion, where thought and deed were united in an inspiringly humanist package.”)
Yoshiyuki Miyamae, a longtime member of the Miyake Design Studio, will take over womenswear. Miyamae (right, with Fujiwara) joined Miyake in 2001, as part of Miyake’s own A-POC Project; since 2006, he has worked under Fujiwara on the IM collections. Miyamae’s first collection will be shown in Paris this October.
The men’s collection will now be known as Issey Miyake Men and designed by a team that, according to the company, combines “young talents and experienced designers and technicians.” The new men’s collection will be shown in Paris this June.
In advance of Issey Miyake’s Fall 2011 womenswear show, the label announced that said collection would be creative director Dai Fujiwara’s last. (They did it in elegant, haute Japanese fashion: by mailed letter. Really, who does such things anymore? I was tempted to reply with a thank-you note.) Fujiwara’s odd, cerebral collections for the label over his five-year tenure have been an outré highlight of the Paris collections. It’ll be sad indeed to see Fujiwara decamp, a sentiment only punched up by the recent delivery of his Spring ’11 menswear to London’s high-concept LN-CC boutique.
The inspiration for the season, we’ll all recall (or maybe we need a refresher) was trout. As in—well, as in trout. Not exactly overfished waters of inspiration, sartorially speaking. In fact, odd enough to give you pause. But in practice, the results are strangely compelling. (And, really, no stranger than, say, bananas.) Call me crazy—my coworkers did, when I emailed around a link—but I can’t stop thinking about this fishhook-printed shirt. It’s vibrantly-hued, fab pieces like these that’ll make Fujiwara hard to replace; that talent for can’t-explain-it-but-want-it is in short supply. What’s next for the designer? Time will tell. One guess: Gone fishin’?
Anna Dello Russo picks her top ten looks from Spring ’11, from Jil Sander and Balenciaga (left) to Mary Katrantzou and Haider Ackermann. Just as good: She pastes a picture of her cherry-hatted head atop each one. Think of it as a preview of every street-style blog you’ll read over the next three months. [Anna Dello Russo]
In case you missed it over the weekend, the FT‘s take on Annie Leibovitz and her continued financial difficulties is worth a read. The takeaway: If you’re going to stay solvent, it helps to kiss a little art-world ass. [FT]
Issey Miyake is set to receive Japan’s Order of Culture from Emperor Akihito next week on November 3, the country’s national Culture Day. [WWD]
And Harvey Nicks heads to Hong Kong: The English department store is opening up an 83,000-square-foot location in the Eastern capital. [WWD]