‘Make me a fabric that looks like poison.’ This is what Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake apparently once instructed his textile engineer, Makiko Minagawa. Miyake’s idea of fashion was often beautiful and always technically challenging. Over a career spanning four decades, his work would demonstrate an extraordinarily virtuosic range, from red plastic moulded bustiers with flirtatiously flared peplums to colour faded menswear drawing on shibori, a traditional Japanese tie-dye technique. He designed multicoloured flying saucer dresses that could be compressed like paper lanterns to fit into a suitcase and tubular industrial knits that the wearer could cut to size along a dotted line. Most importantly, perhaps, Miyake pioneered an innovative method of heat-pressed pleating that would become his distinctive fashion signature. His clothes were joyful and the news of his death, aged 84, marks the loss of a great twentieth-century fashion visionary.
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