Issey Miyake and the Joy of Dressing

Sorcha McCrory
Sorcha McCrory

Sorcha McCrory is a British writer, avoiding Brexit by absconding to Copenhagen. She is interested in fashion, pop culture and art, and the intersection of all three

Issey Miyake SS20 was as memeable as it was infectiously happy, but it was so much more than a cheap trick for social coverage

 

 

I know right? It’s you “on Friday leaving work”, it’s you “on payday”, it’s you “remembering the bar of chocolate in the fridge”. Satoshi Kondo’s collection for Issey Miyake SS20 was as memeable as it was infectiously happy, but it was so much more than a cheap trick for social coverage: It was a literal expression of exuberant, exhilarated, undiluted, liquid joy.

 

This show forms part of a wider discussion of expression on the runway. From Maison Margiela’s stomping model, Leon Dame, to Marc Jacobs models with “unbridled expressions, reactions, ideas and possibilities”, there is an upward trend in authenticity and fashion as escapism. This show, however, has stuck with me long after the memes have passed.

 

 

It was a literal expression of exuberant, exhilarated, undiluted,          liquid joy

 

 

I woke up on Saturday to multiple Instagram messages, all containing a link to the show and multiple exclamation marks. My immediate friendship group were as captivated by these bouncing pleats as I was, it struck me to ask: “why?”

 

Why is this such an anomaly? Why shouldn’t clothes make you happy? Why shouldn’t you feel joy at the prospect of getting dressed? Why shouldn’t we choose the dress that makes us feel like dancing? It was a simple yet powerful reminder that, too often, we compromise our own experience for an aesthetic ideal – one designed by an industry with little regard for its impact on womens’ mental health. 

 

 

 

 

At best, you put off jean shopping longer than your annual trip to the dentists. At worst, you internalise a negative message about your own value

 

 

Different body types are so often maligned and made to feel inadequate. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that most women have experienced some form of existential crisis when shopping, scarred by bad fitting-room lighting and demoralizing reflections. At best, you put off jean shopping longer than your annual trip to the dentists. At worst, you internalise a negative message about your own value. 

 

Frequently I see shows in which models are struggling to walk and look visibly uncomfortable. The message being: women should change to fit their clothes, not vice versa. If you lose weight, it will fit better. The Issey Miyake presentation has stayed with me because it is the polar opposite. The clothes work only because of the wearer and the entire thing serves as a celebration of bodies. 

 

 

Kondo’s collection was softer, cut with waistlines and wide hems that feel inclusive

 

 

It’s easy for “minimal” and “draped” to translate into “uncomfortable” and “unwearable” when worn by the “wrong” body. Straight-cut shirt dresses look great on a mannequin but if worn by someone who, I don’t know, moves or, worse still, has hips, that effortlessly chic effect is lost. 

 

Kondo’s collection was softer, cut with waistlines and wide hems that feel inclusive. Heavily draped pieces were offset by utilitarian A-line trousers, cropped and easily worn with flats. Wide straps on dresses said “don’t worry about your bra”, while knife pleats said “don’t worry about your period bloat”. Models bounced, danced and sailed through on skateboards, with skirts billowing behind them like kites. Their smiles a testament to the joy of this collection. 

 

I wouldn’t be surprised if everything had pockets. Because you know what’s even more happy making than bouncing pleats on a dress? Pockets. 

 

Image via Vogue Runway 

 

 

 

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