#SuzyPFW: Innovative Visions

Two separate designers – both, by chance, Japanese – started their shows with a duo of figures who reached the still centre of the piled-up photographers and then split to walk alone across their open space.

At Issey Miyake, there was a poetic title given to the movement of people criss-crossing the flat runway space: ‘Chain of Inspiration’. While Junya Watanabe had two figures in flower-patterned dresses that looked summery and simple – even if this Paris season is for Autumn/Winter 2019.

Issey Miyake: Flexible textile

Colour was the first message from the Miyake show where a school courtyard was painted with lines – yellow, blue and white – like some kind of unknown game. Designer Yoshiyuki Miyamae has a real feel for geometry – and not just at floor level.

Each outfit in the first section was made from ‘Dough Dough’ and expressed the flexible qualities of that malleable material, an in-house invention. It allows the wearer to decide how to shape and drape each garment, so that even a grey suit can be sculpted around the body. A flourish or flattening of a collar is in the wearer’s hands – which can themselves be framed with ruching at the bottom of each sleeve.

A new fabric introduced this season is called ‘Blink’ and offers a rich palette that the designer described as “layers of coloured lights” resembling a kaleidoscope.

The result of these fabrics with punchy names and complex descriptions was a series of coats, plain or vividly coloured, and especially effective in versions with varying black-on-white stripes.

The designer has caught so well the spirit of Issey Miyake himself – a master who has always reached out to invent a body covering that never constricts the body. The new show was a bright walk in the founder’s footsteps.

Junya Watanabe: Purposeful pairings

By his usual standards, Junya Watanabe was surprisingly chatty after a show of floral dresses that were sent out in pairs, but then split for separate arcs, before meeting again at the entrance.

“Double – but no meaning,” said the designer in English, before a translator took over and interpreted the designer’s Japanese.

“He has designed clothing that you can wear reversibly, so he wanted to have two models seen from the front and back,” was the commentary.

Did that mean that the clothes were the same but the flower patterns changed position?

“Some of them,” was the explanation. “Some of them were reversible with one model wearing one side facing out and another wearing it reversed. Not so much a statement, but just to show.”

Yet there was more purpose in this use of material than first appeared, as Junya explained that the show was also a statement about recycling, re-using and upcycling.

“For this collection, we reproduced antique dresses, we took them apart into pieces and turned them around to invert them, cut them into right and left, and then we re-combined different parts from different dresses to make one garment,” he said.

“For example, this dress has three different dresses taken apart and put together again.”

The overall effect was colourful, pretty and took Junya right away from the punk looks he often clings to. But the designer insisted that there was no big message about this pretty collection. “Just feeling, not meaning,” he said.