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For the last 45 years Issey Miyake has been interested in clothing, a word he prefers to fashion. “I want to make clothes like T-shirts and jeans that many people can wear with ease.”

Yet his work has hardly been stagnant. By incorporating art and technology into his practice he’s managed to make revolutionary advances in a series of futuristic ideas that led to accolades from all parts of the fashion and art world. “Issey Miyake’s work stems from a challenging yet elementary question: how to wrap the body, which is three dimensional, with fabric, which is two dimensional, without forgetting that the body is also alive and moving.”

Now, a new exhibition at the National Art Center in Tokyo reflects on almost a half century of work by Miyake Issey.

“Miyake has always explored the relationship between a piece of cloth and the body,” says the museum curators, “and the space that is created as a result, unrestricted by any existing framework.” The exhibition expands on this this concept, incorporating a surprisingly wide range of artistic problem-solving, by arranging the space into 3 different spaces: Room A, B and C. The spaces themselves have been eloquently put together by long-time collaborators and friends Tokujin Yoshioka and Taku Sato.

Room A

Designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, Room A begins, aptly, with Miyake’s early works. “For Issey Miyake, the dialogue between body and clothing consists at once of presence and absence, in the sense that the shape of the clothing is created by the body itself, only when it is worn, with the space between cloth and body being of uttermost importance. ” He created a jumpsuit with a tattoo motif that looked literally like a wearable second skin.

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Room B

Room B, also designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, focuses on the 1980s when Miyake presented his “Plastic Body” collection in Paris. Here, the hand of Tokujin Yoshioka is most apparent, as the designer created a series of manikins using translucent acrylic resin. “As if it overlaps Issey Miyake’s design principal ‘a piece of cloth’, explains Yoshioka, “365 parts cut out from a piece of board with laser cutting technique are composed as a grid structure and create a futuristic human body.”

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“Issey Miyake’s work stems from a challenging yet elementary question: how to wrap the body, which is three dimensional, with fabric, which is two dimensional”

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Room C

In Room C, designed by Taku Sato, is Miyake’s most radical work. “Every day, I imagine something new, create something that has never existed, and build a new reality,” says Miyake.

With out a doubt, 1 of the 5 collections on display are the innovative “PLEATS.” And each day, from 11:00 to 12:00, staff will give a production demonstration using a pleats machine! It’s a great opportunity to see how the Pleats are made. Other fun features include a Children’s Booklet (PDF) and an audio tour app (500 yen)

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