IKKO TANAKA x ISSEY MIYAKE No. 3
Graphic design and fashion ofttimes collide. However, working beyond the superficial level and actually incorporating design into the clothes is almost exclusively identified in the work of Issey Miyake. His ideas are ubiquitous. His fashion perception is unprecedented. In 2016, Miyake released a series of products featuring motifs of works by Ikko Tanaka, a renowned Japanese graphic designer and a powerful visual monarch, whose modernist simplicity and forceful geometrical forms left a strong impact after his death in 2002. The two masterminds met in the 1960s and shared a lifelong friendship and appreciation. Contending the evanescent nature of life, Miyake preserved Tanaka's legacy and integrated Tanaka's designs into his contemporary work. For the first collection, "three works out of Tanaka’s many masterpieces were selected as motifs: Nihon Buyo (1981), The 200th anniversary of Sharaku (1995), and Variations of Bold Symbols (1992)." In 2017, the second collection was released, portraying Japanese beauty and strength without pretense. Two series, "Bokugi (1996) and Face (1995), have been chosen as motifs."
Issey Miyake approaches couture as an engineer who constructs an interplanetary craft. His collections exude uncommon proportions, a new fashion world. What is next? For Ikko Tanaka x Issey Miyake No. 3 collection, Miyake has a peculiar fashion statement to make— to transform tailoring to an erudite art, the absolute antithesis of elusive beauty. Continuing to influence and shape mainstream fashion, Miyake— a fashion anarchist— creates a fusion between fashion and art; the one profoundly cemented in his designs, keeping us waving about his theatrical powers. Issey Miyake is verbalizing fashion, sensing the zeitgeist and formulating a collection that is flexible in more ways than one. The wardrobe almost requires effective, subliminal messages— an enigmatical and irresistible Miyake code. As with the previous two series, the size and colors of Tanaka's designs were faithfully replicated in the production of these exceptional pieces. Three-dimensional wearable artworks focus on the notion of fabric both as a medium and as a framework to explore the connection between graphic design and fashion. "Ikko Tanaka developed radical ideas to create fresh works drawn by hand in an age without computers. We wish people to recognize his works and the ideal form of design. This series shines a light and opens up a pathway to the future."
For the third volume, three of Tanaka's works were chosen as a pattern concept: Gradation (letters and characters), Work: Q, and Rope. Gradation is a series that uses a single hiragana character or a letter of the alphabet as the motif. Q series uses the character Q as the motif, and "shows how the letter begins to move on the screen, turns into a cylinder, then to a sphere, transforming into various different shapes in each differently numbered work". Miyake contrasted vivid primary colors with limited traces of energetic black and white. A sea of geometrical and symmetrical pieces do not quiver from his principles, depicting clean and restrained tailoring. More fine artist than a designer, Miyake once again envisaged outside the classic fashion molds. Versatile, revolutionary, and practically weightless, the pieces from this collection are beyond avantgarde. The forefather of aesthetic dressing designed a clean collection, yet remained faithful to Tanaka's compelling use of color.
In collaboration with Issey Miyake Antwerp Store, I had the opportunity to take a glimpse of the collection before its release last Sunday (February 11, respectively). It fully breathed within the minimalist architecture of the Belgian flagship store, located in the Meir area— Antwerp's shopping Mecca. The exposed, stripped walls provided a contrasting backdrop to vivid, lively pieces. Attentively exhibited to fully illustrate the idea behind the collection, the pieces from Ikko Tanaka x Issey Miyake No. 3 series radiated a futuristic sentiment. As a supreme colorist, Miyake designed pieces that epitomize the meaning of modernity. Abstract and angular, they contain the juxtaposition of geometric shapes. However, fluidity is a prerogative. Created in almost languid lines, flowing shapes provide vital comfort and fluidity. With the approval of fashion intelligentsia, the collection will surely be rapturously received worldwide.
(Feature was originally published in Ladies In magazine, August 2018.)