Flowers in bloom. Could there be any sweeter - but more conventional - idea for a spring collection? The answer to the former is yes, but to the latter is no, at least when you're Yoshiyuki Miyamae at Issey Miyake. The new name in the Miyake stable titled his first catwalk show 'Bloom Skin', exploring the fragility and strength of flowers coming to bloom.
Fragility and strength seem to be something everyone is thinking of for Spring/Summer 2012, but as always the Miyake version is unexpected. See the opening outfits, flesh-coloured suiting with volume seemingly to bubble out from within around the hips and breast. That looked best in a short jacket, the sleeves sliced open down the inside seam to give volume in the flat. They almost resembles gigot but with no weight at all. They felt flowery - the passage of Olympian sportswear, all mesh, cut-outs and bands of block colour were a little more difficult to place. The semi-transparent fabric was suppose to be about the petal - but, if so, it was rather abstract. A lot of abstract, in fact, but that is Miyake's way. The focus here should always be on the fabric technologies which genuinely suggest something new and bold in fashion - those foamy but weightless opening looks with triacetate-mix, firm but flexible, like a flower. The cut-outs were achieved by a knit house in Kyoto that pioneered a fibre that part-dissolves to leave pure colour. Cotton paper mixes made light-as-air puffy cocktail dresses, and new weaving techniques gave an incredible lightness to billowing evening dresses.
Those fibres, for fashion, will make the future. Miyamae played with light fantastic forward-thinking in the opening projections, like a giant game of Pong across the catwalk bouncing light around the venue to illuminate a giant stem around which the models clustered for his finale. But ultimately, that theatricality was outshone by the technical wizardry - just as it should be.
As a side-note, however, Miyamae's collection itself was overpowered (quite literally) by the stifling heat inside his venue. Either these were hothouse flowers or it was a very literal interpretation of the Greenhouse Effect. Miyamae came to bloom, but his audience wilted.