Back in The Grand Palais and the mood could not have been more different from the Lanvin show a few days ago. Gone was the nineties-style podium runway and we were floor level with some incredible contemporary dance. Dancers ran up the runway and dropped to the floor in front of the audience. Stretching, popping and gliding, the stretchy garments were worn as a performative pieces of apparatus. The casting was - as usual - fresh, modern and varied. These were women handpicked to communicate a grounded vision of a house that truly knows itself. Prints were 3D textural, and the vibe like a cosmic beach scene. Watching an Issey Miyake show is like listening to a chill out album (that’s really rather good).
Entitled A Piece of Memory, this was a revisiting of an ecological fascination with the world around us. Last season the label was inspired by the Northern Lights, and this season the trip to Iceland where they got to see them provided another starting point. Why go on an entirely new research trip when you can continue to be inspired by the one you took last season? Issey Miyake’s collections don’t feel the pressure of switching themes in commercial seasons, and neither should they when we are honouring 'the great mysteries of nature, created over eons by our planet.' Aquatic shades of turquoise were followed by dresses and tunics printed with the scenes of lakes and shorelines. The show notes also talked about how the landscape that we now see on this planet is nothing more but 'a fragment of proof of what once long ago nurtured us all.' One concertina cape sprang into action and bobbed like waves on an ocean, whilst a larger cocoon version saw Mother Earth 'boing' with a real spring in her step! Tessellated, tufty and springy, black and white storm trooper constructions were organically shaped like a cubic take on fractals. This was a technique called Cube, a textile created by piecing together squares. Issey Miyake is the one label where any great existential thinking goes on between the world of art, science and nature. Mathematics plays a part here, both figuratively and technically, yet it still feels like it has more soul than the rest. Baked Stretch and Steam Stretch, two techniques trademarked by the house, were evolved this season by becoming softer and uneven. In an effort to evoke the images of the Icelandic landscape, its 'great clefts in a harsh landscape', and its 'igneous rock covered in moss gleaming in the rays of the sun', hints of the base fabric dye overflowed from the shadow of the folds, and some of the fabrics were flattened out in the printing process. As the models walked bare foot in brown checked garments dyed using the traditional 'Dorozome' - a dyeing method from Amami Oshima, a tropical island in the south of Japan – their faces wore those kinds of smiles that could be found when one is truly connecting with nature.