Issey Miyake's menswear designer Yusuke Takahashi was looking to the late Scottish architect and designer Charlie Rennie Mackintosh for inspiration for A/W 15. At first glance that might seem like an odd fit, but there's actually something wonderfully appropriate about a Japanese brand borrowing the styles, and indeed personal style (see those knotted silk scarfs, mirroring Mackintosh's own personal wardrobe), of the Art Nouveau pioneer. Turn back the clock one hundred years and it was Mackintosh who was inspired by the Japanese - indeed, he contributed to the Japonism fever that struck European design at that time. For Mackintosh it was the focus on usage and simplicity that appealed to him - quality was prioritised over artifice, as was space and a sense of calm over fuss. That's something that underpins the Miyake ethos even today. It was most notable in the opening section of the collection, titled 'Geometric Business', which drew on the oval and grid motifs Mackintosh is famous for and provided a lesson in precision, spacing and arrangement.
That said, the collection was by no means stiff or overly severe. Indeed, the modernist focus on practical design that Mackintosh favoured seemed to be deliberately challenged by Takahashi in favour of pieces that recalled the more surface-level decadence of his pieces. The middle section of the collection in particular catered to a modern dandy with a penchant for showmanship - see those historical-cuts that veered into costume territory and the bold plaids, a reference to Mackintosh's Scottish heritage. In the fight between simplicity and decoration, the latter won out in the end. The closing section of the collection eschewed subtlety by championing Mackintosh's most popular, recognisable and copied motif, the stylised rose. It came on velvet coats in majestic regal hues, a nod to the past, and digitally printed on shirts, a nod to the future. Past and present was artfully combined in the photographs by Satoshi Fujiwara that decorated bags and t-shirts in a fun one-off collaboration. A young talent just breaking onto the scene, his photos feature close ups of elderly faces. There's a parallel to be drawn there between the celebration of ageing and wrinkles and the pleats that Miyake have built their name on. Either way, if the Mackintosh references may have felt too eccentric and academic for some, the prospect of sticking two fingers up to the youth-obsessed fashion pack with a bag plastered with an old man's face should help perk them up.