During Paris Fashion Week, creative director Satoshi Kondo debuted the first Issey Miyake fashion show since his mentor and founder of the Japanese label died earlier this year. The show took place in a expansive venue at the Paris Event Center just on the outskirts of Paris at Porte de la Villette to fit the large turnout.
To pay homage to the designer, a black and white photo of Miyake was projected across the room along with one of his most famous quotes: “I believe there is hope in design. The design evokes surprise and joy in people.” Kondo, who took the creative helm of the house in 2019, has continued Miyake’s tradition of telling a story through the collection and the production of the show.
The collection itself featured bold prints and textures reminiscent of a sculpture. There were smooth curve silhouettes from the shoulders to the cuffs and pieces made from fabric that was folded and hand-pleated in a circular shape to represent life cycles and rebirth. For the finale of the show, dancers and models took the floor in a lively performance dance showing off the flexibility and movement of each piece.
Afterwards, show-goers lead a lively standing ovation, as fans of the designer expressed both sad emotion yet joyfulness to see his legacy live on through Kondo’s work at the brand. Following the moving show, GRAZIA USA talked to the designer backstage on the life skills Miyake taught him over his 15-year mentorship, the riveting finale dance, and diving into the importance of narrative.
GRAZIA USA: How would you describe the Issey Miyake person? How do they inspire the collection?
Satoshi Kondo: Miyake’s work to me, is a great inspiration. He had always told me to be curious and to engage myself in making and designing and to create collections and clothing that give people a sense of joy and to make people happy. So moving forward, I would like to take what I learned from Issey-san, and create something that’s really modern, reflecting his philosophy.
G: Like Miyake, you always start the collection with this story. What’s the importance of having a narrative tied to the garment?
SK: Having a story is essential to my collection. When I create a collection, the story is actually the source, of course, of the inspiration. And from there, every design in every garment is developed.
G: Other than skillful techniques, what important life skills from Issey Miyake have you learned that you still carry today?
SK: Well, if there’s one thing that I learned from Issey-san is never give up until the last minute and to really, really work with all the textile manufacturers and really go to them and speak to them and find all the inspiration — that is important to the creation of my work.
G: Tell me the meaning behind the performance at the end.
SK: Well, the last dance part of the finale is my interpretation of diversity. We actually created garments inspired by colors of different skin tones. So that’s my interpretation of everyone being connected regardless of gender or race felt seen. And so they all come together here, which is really important to the collection and my design work.
Read GRAZIA USA’s Fall issue featuring cover star Nicola Peltz Beckham: