MIYAKE ISSEY EXHIBITION: The Works of Miyake Issey

Trailer of "MIYAKE ISSEY EXHIBITION: The Work of Miyake Issey"

'Miyake Issey Exhibition: The work of Miyake Issey'

Section AThe National Art Center, Tokyo

Section A

Issey Miyake is someone who always looks ahead and refuses to be bound by convention. He has been exploring new approaches to and possibilities for making clothing since the establishment of the Miyake Design Studio in 1970. This section examines his early work. It was during this period when Miyake laid the foundation for what has been and continues to be an unparalleled career. →

Miyake was interested in the larger framework of design, having majored in graphic design at the Tama University. He wanted to use clothing as a platform to create a more fluid society, not just to design clothes in the narrow sense. Miyake traveled to Paris in 1965, honed his skills at a maison de couture; and then in 1968 was witness to the May Revolution. As he watched the young people of France demonstrating passionately against authoritarianism, Miyake realized that he wanted to "create clothing like jeans and T-shirts that was universal and can be worn by everyone." After returning to Japan he formed the Miyake Design Studio in 1970. There, he and a team began to explore the possibilities for and to create new materials, and to experiment with their use to create new forms of clothing. →

Since that time, he has continued to explore the relationship between "A Piece of Cloth," the body, and the "space" that is formed between them. This focus combined with his love of research, new materials and his abiding respect for Japanese traditional handcrafts, has resulted in a catalogue of innovative new textiles and unique clothing.From start to finish, there has been one constant in Issey Miyake's work: his touchstone, making clothing from "A Piece of cloth". He has never wavered from the goal of using clothing, the most personal of all our essential needs as a means by which to expand the possibilities of design; and to unify people globally by addressing common needs in contemporary lifestyles. In the process, he has afforded new paths for each new generation of designers.《Grid Body》: Tokujin Yoshioka

TATTOOThe National Art Center, Tokyo

TATTOO 1970/SS1971

A homage to legendary rock musicians Jimi Hendrix and Janice Joplin who died in 1970. The print resembles a tattoo on the skin and was designed by Makiko Minagawa, who began working with Miyake as Textile Director. One of the pieces that was shown in New York as part of the first ISSEY MIYAKE collection.

HANDKERCHIEF DRESSThe National Art Center, Tokyo


The dress is created from three rectangular pieces of fabric that resemble large handkerchiefs. They are joined together with a bias against the knitted fabric. This is a free-size design worn with the two shoulder straps crossed at back. The bias in the joints gives it elasticity. It is made from Sillook reyniere ,a 100% polyester fabric developed by Toray Industries.

PARADISE LOSTThe National Art Center, Tokyo


The completed coat, a rectangle with sleeve holes. This is an excellent example of Miyake's basic design concept that apparel is "A Piece of Cloth". The print is a work by Tadanori Yokoo

Section BThe National Art Center, Tokyo

Section B

What is the common starting point for any garment?  The body. Issey Miyake's career has been driven by an exploration of the relationship between clothing and the body that gives it life. In the 1980 Autumn-Winter Collection, he presented a new type of garment that he named “PLASTIC BODY” that completely changed the parameters for making clothes. The pieces were created using fiber-reinforced plastic on a mold of a human torso. This could then be repeated using mass production. This was the start of the "Body" series; between 1980 and 1985 many variations on the theme were developed.→

Clothing that is layered on and in-so-doing, expands the body: this sculptural series, transcends both East and West to explore the endless forms that can be created from a single piece of cloth by combining modern technologies and traditional handcrafts.《Grid Body》: Tokujin Yoshioka

PLASTIC BODYThe National Art Center, Tokyo


Created using the fiberglass reinforced plastic. Sculptural shape but the piece can be mass produced.

WATERFALL BODYThe National Art Center, Tokyo


A bodice is formed by draping Pewlon jersey partially soaked with silicon on mannequin bodice which then hardens in the shape of flowing water.

RATTAN BODYThe National Art Center, Tokyo


A bodice woven with rattan and bamboo. Shochikudo Kosuge in Collaboration with Emi Fukuzawa.

SECTION CThe National Art Center, Tokyo

Section C

Constant innovation: this section looks at some of the themes that have motivated Issey Miyake. Miyake's approach to manufacturing stems from a deep respect both for the people who wear his clothing and for the environment; it is inspired by his insistence that clothing should not only enrich our lives but also bring joy to the people who wear it. "Every day, I try to imagine something new, create something that has never existed, and build a new reality." Issey Miyake continues to evolve. Here, we examine five of the most pivotal moments in Miyake's work: "Materials," "Pleats," "IKKO TANAKA ISSEY MIYAKE," "A-POC," and "132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE/IN-EI ISSEY MIYAKE." Everything starts from the fabric: Miyake has created clothing from virtually every material available. His "Pleats" concept, was made possible by the development of new technologies, and represents yet another new departure. The next developments in Miyake's evolution were A-POC, clothing that starts from a single piece of thread in a single process; and more complex a pieces of cloth folding structures through his 132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE collection and later, IN-EI line, that extended the concept to the design of lighting fixtures.

PLEATSThe National Art Center, Tokyo

PLEATS Mlyake unveiled a new revolutionary method of pleating In clothing presented at the Spring/Summer 1989 Collection. Instead of pleating the fabric first, then making clothes from it, the fabric was cut and sewn into a carefully calibrated oversized shape, and then sandwiched between Iayers of paper and fed through a heated pleating machine, sealing the pleats into the memory of the yarn. It is a unique method called "Garment Pleating. "Miyake's pleats, which not only use a special fabric whose yarn has "memory" which retain the pleats, are unique in that the shape and texture of the clothes are created in a single process, The origin for "garment pleating "began with a single scarf, which was folded and pleated diagonally. A three-dimensional form appeared when the pleated scarf was unfolded; then three sections were sewn together in a manner that allowed for the creation of a shirt. The discovery of this process brought Miyake joy and ultimately provided a solution to his quest for a way to make clothing that was universal and suited the needs of an everyday lifestyle. In turn, this process has allowed for the evolution of many other forms and techniques by which to create clothing, such as Rhythm Pleats, Pao Coat and Flying Saucer. Later, Twist was born which added the additional component of human hands to finish each garment. Pleating became a rich source of diversity and possibility for design.→

The impetus for Miyake's discovery came in 1991 when he was asked to design costumes for the Ballet Frankfurt, led by William Forsythe. From this, "PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE," was born--a line of pleated products that was launched in 1993. The "Pleats" clothing is lightweight, doesn't wrinkle, can be washed by hand and rolls up so as to travel or store easily. It has become synonymous with lseey Miyake around the world. The PLEATS PLEASE pleating machine is on display in the exhibition; it is also used to produce the IKKO TANAKA ISSEY MIYAKE series.

PLEATS ISLANDThe National Art Center, Tokyo

PLEATS ISLAND 1981/SS1982-1999/AW1999

The array of unique Pleats began with 《CICADA》, created in 1988 made from a single scarf. 《FLOWER PLEATS》,《BLADE OF GLASS PLEATS》and《BIRD PLEATS》were inspired by 《Le Réve(The Dream)》a painting by Henri Russeau. Imagination expands; this is an island inhabited by a wide variety of clothes that weave many stories.

VIRTUAL OLYMPICThe National Art Center, Tokyo


The Lithuanian Jacket was the official uniform for the Lithuanian team at the olympic games in Barcelona in 1992. The Spring/Summer collection for ISSEY MIYAKE MEN included our vision for ten additional countries.
Additional uniforms were produced specifically for this exhibition to present India, Ethiopia, The Netherlands,Korea, Kenya, Jamaica, Finland, Brazil, south Africa and Russia. The Japanese uniform was also completely redesigned.

RHYTHM PLEATSThe National Art Center, Tokyo


Inspired by Le Réve, 1910, by Henri Rousseau, Dresses in ovais, rounds and squares, with unusual placements of the collar and arm openings. Unexpected three dimensional forms are created when worn. The other sleeve opening of the flat oval dress is placed on its back.

RHYTHM PLEATSThe National Art Center, Tokyo


Film: Yuriko Takagi from Beyond Time & Space, 2016

FLYING SAUCERThe National Art Center, Tokyo


Called the <flying saucer> because of its shape when folded. It is made from three cylinders for the torso and arms. The vertical pleats are folded bellows-style to create a unique form.

TWISTThe National Art Center, Tokyo

TWIST 1991/SS1992

<twist> came out of a strong desire by Miyake to use the human body and senses to make clothing. The fabric is cut, sewn and made into a piece of clothing. It is then folded, and twisted by hand. After that, it is heat-treated to set the wrinkles. Each piece is unique. The process requires creativity on the part of the workers. The twist are applied by hands how the clothing will drape on the body after heat treatment.

HELLO PLEATSThe National Art Center, Tokyo


Named <hello pleats> because it resembles a cheerful person saying, "Hello!"

GATHER PRESS (1996)The National Art Center, Tokyo


This piece is partially stitched before being heat-treated in a press. Each has a different arrangement of stitches and gathers. Like "Twist," the completed clothing is a product of human hands and senses.

IKKO TANAKA ISSEY MIYAKE (1988)The National Art Center, Tokyo


The latest project is a series that uses motifs by the late Ikko Tanaka, one of the most influential figures in the field of graphic design. Tanaka's work, often bold, has been an ongoing source of inspiration for Miyake. The clothing in this series is an homage born both from respect for and with gratitude to Tanaka, and a desire to introduce his rich designs to the next generation.→

The exhibit contains the first group, which were produced using the PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE technology. The sources for two of the graphics come from: the poster <nihon buyo> (1981) created for a Japanese dance performance at the university of California. Los Angeles, and from <the 200th anniversary of sharaku> (1995), exhibited at a show to commemorate the 200th birthday of Toshueai Sharaku. It is necessary to point out that each design has been faithfuly reproduced in Tanaka's original colors and sizes. The bold Tanaka graphics when seen on the coats transform from two-dimensional to three-dimensional objects when worn; and not only take on new shapes, but also allow for new interpretations of the work.

IKKO TANAKA ISSEY MIYAKE: Production processThe National Art Center, Tokyo

Production process

Garment presewn into shape <nihon buyo> and <sharaku>

→ Pleating machine mechanism movie

→Garment before being sandwitched between paper and pleated, then finally taken out.

NIHON BUYO (2015)The National Art Center, Tokyo


SHARAKU (2015)The National Art Center, Tokyo


A-POCThe National Art Center, Tokyo


lssey Miyake collaborated with Dai Fujiwara to develop a revolutionary production technology called "A-POC" in 1998. A-POC is an acronym created using Miyake's "A Piece of Cloth" design concept; and is also an intentional play-on-words with "epoch."The clothing starts from a single piece of thread, its finished form embedded in a computer program from the outset. Form, fabric, texture and the components for fully-finished garments are created in a single process and as a result, A-POC allows apparel to be manufactured with a minimum of waste, and can be applied to both small-lot and mass production. It also gives the designer the opportunity to be much more deeply involved in the manufacturing process from the first stages. →

Knits The National Art Center, Tokyo

Knits <a-poc king & queen> (1998):the A-POC process feeds a single piece of thread into an industrial knitting machine programmed by a computer and in a single process fabric, texture and the components for a fully-finished garment are created. To extrude a garment from the tube, all that is necessary is to cut along lines of demarcation, built into the fabric to release pieces of clothing, a hat and a bag.

The A-POC process was later introduced to woven fabric. The jacquard double-woven method allowed for a variety of new shapes. Precise pattern instructions as well as those for assembling the components are woven into the fabric, as seen in JUPITER, 2006. The components for the jeans are put together and sewn as seen with the plastic model. A-POC lives up to its suggested-name, an epoch making moment in the history of making clothes.

JUPITER (2016)The National Art Center, Tokyo

JUPITER 2006/AW2006

Collaboration with A-POC: Koutaro Sekiguchi,Adventure, 2016

MATERIALSThe National Art Center, Tokyo


Issey Miyake believes that clothing can be made from any material. He has experimented with a surprisingly wide variety, from natural materials such as hand-screened Japanese paper, horsehair and raffia, to newly developed synthetic textiles. He often makes use of traditional dyeing and weaving techniques such as cotton kumigasuri, a weave that uses space-dyed cotton yarn, and silk batik; combining these with new synthetic textiles, computer technology and many other advanced processes for making clothing. The result is a wide variety of textures that also allow for new shapes.

132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE/IN-EI ISSEY MIYAKEThe National Art Center, Tokyo


The Reality Lab is a research and development team that combines the experience of seasoned engineers with the new ideas of a younger staff. It began in 2007 under Issey Miyake's direction, and in 2010 launched its first major project, "132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE." The approach to 132 5’s design is the application of an engineering algorithm to create folded structures, using recycled textiles. It is an attempt to address two of Miyake's longtime interests, environmentally friendly manufacturing and a new creative direction. →

132 5. ISSEY MIYAKEThe National Art Center, Tokyo

Using the algorithm, a three-dimensional fabric structure is created by folding a single piece of cloth, and pressing flat. The clothing becomes three-dimensional when worn, but can be re-folded back to its flattened state when taken off. →

The "1" in "132 5." represents a single flat piece of cloth; the "3" for the three-dimensional form of the clothing, worn; the "2" for the two-dimensional form it takes when folded flat; and the "5" for the sense that it takes the wearer into another dimension.

132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE/IN-EI ISSEY MIYAKEThe National Art Center, Tokyo

The use of the folding structures that resulted from this development process has been expanded to the design of lighting fixtures. "IN-EI ISSEY MIYAKE" is a series of freestanding lighting fixtures created entirely from these original structures. The material is 100% recycled non-woven fabric made from old PET bottles. "132 5." and "IN-EI" continue to be closely related. In fact, the folding structures developed for the lighting fixtures are now in turn being applied to apparel design.

MOTION GRAPHIC / MUSIC INSTALLATION (2016)The National Art Center, Tokyo


The final exhibition space shows Issey Miyake's techniques to make clothes, through graphic installations with music and lyrics.

Making Things 2016
Motion Graphic: Yugo Nakamura/tha ltd.
Music: Cornelius


FILMThe National Art Center, Tokyo

Film Program: Showing 5 films produced for the exhibition.

Planning/Production: Midori Kitamura

The Work of Miyake Issey 1960-2015The National Art Center, Tokyo

Beyond Time&SpaceThe National Art Center, Tokyo

Visual DialogueThe National Art Center, Tokyo

Waterfall Body (2016) by Direction and Editing: Yu Yamanaka/Blue DocumentaryThe National Art Center, Tokyo

KamikoThe National Art Center, Tokyo

CHRONOLOGYThe National Art Center, Tokyo


This list covers all activites from the first collection in 1963 to 2015, categorized as "Collection/Shows,""Exhibitions/Other Events,"and "Publications."

Entrance of ExhibitionThe National Art Center, Tokyo

Credits: Story

March 16 (Wed.) – June 13 (Mon.), 2016
Organized by: The National Art Center, Tokyo
Co-organized by:The Miyake Issey Foundation,
Miyake Design Studio, Issey Miyake Inc.

Photo: Hiroshi Iwasaki and Masaya Yoshimura
Film: Takahisa Araki and Yugo Nakamura

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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