What a tropical season it’s been this S/S 16! Pineapples at Valentino and now parrots at Issey Miyake Men. Nothing we’ve seen across London, Milan or Paris was quite so optimistic and joyful as Yusuke Takahashi’s latest collection. It was a vibrant celebration of not just the codes of the Miyake house, but also of Tokyo’s young, rising creatives. Takahashi clearly saw parallels between his own path and ideals and those of rising photographer Yoshinori Mizutani. They’re united in caring for modernity and a new Japan - maybe that’s why he was also pondering the possibilities of the city, and the adventures that can be had in the modern ‘urban jungle.’ After the show, he talked gleefully of the flexibility and vibrancy of Mizutani’s images, and how they have just as much life and brilliance if printed on a t-shirt as they do when hung on a gallery wall. It was this mobility that had got him excited. And he was right. The photos looked fantastic on the suits and separates that opened the collection. In a section sweetly dubbed ‘Chic Parrots,' they appeared printed on garments and, at their most brilliant, woven into jacquard suits.
The collection seemed to move from show pieces to shop floor items to street style must-haves. You could read that as a breakdown of the different tastes and preoccupations of the different kinds of men who wear Miyake. After those opening parrots came cleaner looks; tailored separates in vivid jewel tones and subtle sporty shapes. Up last, in a pithy play on fashion’s obsession with street style, came short suits furnished with Mizutani images of everyday city life, buildings and interiors from his ‘Colours’ series. Styled in block hues, the garments didn’t feature the prints too literally - instead one could decipher details, pondering if something was a window or a skyscraper or perhaps neither. They suggested the anonymity of city life - the way one can run free in a sprawling metropolis amongst all the buildings and monuments, able to disappear should one so choose, or stand out, in colourful Miyake, if the mood takes you. At the end of the show, the models congregated together, circling like a flock of brilliant birds. Off the back of this collection, many men will be keen to join their flock.