Ongoing lines continue for one reason, success. People return to designers and lines that they love, for perhaps the aesthetic, the idea or the reasons behind it. The ‘Pleats Please’ line that was first designed by Issey Miyake in 1993 is one example of this. The line is still going today and how it joins practicality (a word I normally hate) and fashion is still relevant. Pleats Please has been so successful that in 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum dedicated an entire ‘Fashion in Motion’ to it.
In 1998, Issey Miyake collaborated with the artist Cai Guo-Qiang in the Artists Range of Pleats Please. Cai Guo-Qiang explored existential issues for his collaboration with Miyake. Questions such as ‘where do we come from?’ and ‘where are we going?’ were paramount. Qiang aimed to ‘achieve universality while starting from one’s own culture’.
The dress seen above (source) has an abstract image of the dragon on it. The dragon is an iconic symbol of Chinese culture, signifying life. The print on the dress was created at an exhibition called ‘Issey Miyake Making Things’. It was actually created with gunpowder, which has the ability to stop people going anywhere. This irony of this is obvious in the dress, which is worn by those with life.
The dress that resulted from Qiang’s collaboration with Miyake wasn’t the end of the matter. In 2008 Qiang used garments from this series in an artwork that was exhibited at the Guggenheim in New York. This yet again shows the versatility of the Pleats Please range, which explains why it has been so successful.
Existentialism is an intrinsic part of the design of ‘Guest Artist Series 4 Pleats Please’. Some say that Fashion is shallow; I think this dress proves them wrong.