Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake

A survivor and witness of the devastating Hiroshima bombing in 1945 and a technology-driven fashion designer from Japan, Issey Miyake was born on 22nd April 1938. He is recognized worldwide for his contemporary, industrial and innovative apparel designs, fragrances and exhibitions. His work cuts the edge of science and fashion, combining the two into a harmonizing symphony using unconventional materials.

Miyake studied in Tokyo at the Tama Art University majoring in graphic designing. Those mathematical, structured and technical skills are applied in his fashion as well. After his graduation in 1964, he worked in New York and Paris in order to buff his skills and gain experience in the best cities for fashion enthusiasts. Six years later, he returned to Tokyo where he established the Miyake Design Studio that produced high-end, sophisticated and extraordinary fashion for women.

Issey Miyake got his first break when one of his works was featured at Bloomindales and in Vogue. His talents were acknowledged so much so that the magazine published his work and the store assigned him a mini-shop within its terrain.

After the mid 1980s, he commenced experimenting with fresh ideas and methods of a stitching technique, called pleating. With this activity, Miyake aimed to discover types of pleats that would increase the flexibility in movement for the people who wore his outfits. Also, he wanted to invent something that could be easily produced and appeared comfortable to the customers at the same time. Such work by him was observed in a piece called The Loss of Small Details, a costume created for Ballett Frankfurt.

One of his collections incorporated porcelain and ceramic buttons prepared by his long-time friend and Austrian pottery maker/artist, Dame Lucie Rie. She bestowed him with several pieces that he integrated in his works.

Apart from this, Miyake had a good friendship with Steve Jobs of Apple Inc., and produced noir turtlenecks that became a standardized and signature attire worn by Jobs. Steve asked Miyake to make some and he made around a hundred pieces of this style.

Between 1994 and 1999, Miyake turned his attention to research work, exploring new approaches and resources to use in his work. To do so, he handed over the operations of women’s and men’s collections to Naoki Takizawa, his associate. By 2007, Takizawa had gained much experience and knowledge to open up his own label supported by the Miyake Group. Due to this, he was replaced by Dai Fujiwara.

In 2012, Miyake was included among the co-directors of Japan’s first museum of design, 2121 DESIGN SIGHT. Tadao Ando constructed the place which opened in Roppongi, Tokyo in 2007. Issey Miyake heads the center along with four other designers and The Miyake Issey Foundation operates it. Moreover, Miyake has won awards for his work including the Praemium Imperiale, 2005; Kyoto Prize for philosophy and arts, 2006; and Order of Culture, 2010.

Similar to what many other fashion designers do, he has collection of perfumes. His debut fragrance, L’eau d’Issey for females with a light floral-aquatic scent was introduced in 1992. The bottle is designed by Miyake and is influenced by a view of the Eiffel Tower and the moon from his apartment in Paris.  This innovation was followed by L’eau d’Issey Pour Hommes in 2004,  L’eau Bleue d’Issey Eau in 2006, Drop on a Petal in 2007, Reflections in a Drop in 2008.  All the Miyake perfumes are manufactured under an agreement with Shiseido‘s Beauté Prestige International sector.