On the one hand, Issey Miyake Men’s designer Yusuke Takahashi continues to delve into the richness of Japanese textile crafts. On the other, he looks out geographically and chronologically. Always shall those twains meet in dandyism, with its rich tailoring tradition.
The set echoed Takahashi’s primary inspiration, pitting the Cartier foundation’s metal and glass framework against the modernist lines of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The latter provided the motifs — grids and ovals — woven into jacquards. Referential as they were, once cut into structured suits and overcoats, the are very much Issey Miyake through and through. More than ever, the line sways towards masculine elegance and the incumbent designer’s own proclivities for sartorial dressing. The former encapsulated the permeability between the professional and personal spheres.
Translated into silhouettes, it was a wealth of well-proportioned and streamlined suits making good use of the luxurious fabrics at hand. Natural geometries of the body were highlighted by the graphic designs in cloth. Suits didn’t stop at classical shapes. When not cut in knits rather than woven material, they found themselves with golf shapes, or delivered in signature pleating — more of this can be found in the newish Homme Plissé line — that house devotees will know to be supremely comfortable as well as visually empowering. Although the palette erred on the side of classicism, it was richly toned in deep purple, greys and crisp blacks. Mackintosh’s signature scarf was reprised as a nod. As the week unravelled, jackets were cast aside, and coats devolved into thick blankets thrown over the shoulder but elegantly belted, for a more laid-back look. Sophisticated roughness blended well with sharply cut trousers. The evening-oriented moment was a new step in self expression, rather than a return to formalism. “What is more elegant and luxurious than freedom?” it seemed to say.
But the young protégé of Miyake is not just glancing backwards and forwards. With the idiosyncratic sieve that made him the excellent successor to the brand, he also finds artistic gems such as photographer Satoshi Fujiwara, who provides the vivid imagery seen later in the show. In the end, it isn’t just a case for dandies, but a reframing of the dandy as a man with a desire to dress well, at all times.