To celebrate 20 years of Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please line, Taschen just released a book archiving the label’s two decades. There are many brilliant designers out there, but Miyake is a true innovator. With this line, he completely flipped the process of manufacturing, in which the garments are cut and sewn first from fabric that is triple the size of the finished item of clothing, then sandwiched between two sheets of paper, and hand fed into a heat press, where they are pleated.
When a Pleats Please garment is worn, it moves with you. It inhabits a space that your body creates through its actions; each step is a performance. Unlike most designers, Miyake never looks to the past for inspiration, always the future. I strongly feel that he also legitimized polyester as a beautifully rich and complex textile that can be moulded and manipulated, rather than just acting like a cheap stand-in for another fabric. It is truly smart, with an ability to “memorize” its shape even after being exposed to water, heat, or steam. That’s the future.
Sticking to fairly simple silhouettes — when laying flat, at least — every year Miyake released new colours and prints, always keeping us wanting more. There is also the ongoing Guest Artist Series — Cai Guo-Qiang being my favourite of the four — which really challenged the way we experience imagery through the fabric’s movement.
The book also looks at the brilliant marketing Pleats Please has done over the years — always memorable and witty, from folded fabric colour pencils to sushi. It’s the kind of stuff that just floors you with its genius.
$39.99 at TASCHEN.
PS. I’ll be posting a tribute to my Pleats Please bag on Thursday.