Issey Miyake's Homme Plissé dances under the trees
It was in the gardens of the Place des Vosges, beneath trees still wet from the previous night's storms, that Issey Miyake treated the fashion world to an invigoratingly bucolic fête on Thursday morning. Here, instead of showing its main menswear collection, the Japanese brand presented Homme Plissé, its line of timeless basics – most of them pleated – by eponymous founder Issey Miyake.
Launched as a capsule five years ago, this collection conceived for "people of all ages and origins, and for all occasions" was "created to liberate the menswear wardrobe". When it proved to be successful, it was shown on the Paris Fashion Week calendar for the first time in January as part of a performance at the Centre Georges Pompidou.
"This line is growing continuously because it is very relevant to today's menswear wardrobe," explained the fashion house, announcing the opening of two dedicated Homme Plissé stores, which will join an existing boutique in Tokyo. The first of these locations will also be in the Japanese capital, opening its doors in the city's Oyama neighbourhood in July, while the second is set to launch in New York this autumn. In Paris, Homme Plissé is distributed in Issey Miyake stores, as well as at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Elysées.
Choreographed by Daniel Ezralow, the show began with what appeared to be a casual stroll through the park. Leaning against a chestnut tree, a boy in beige cotton trousers and a pleated tunic seemed to be waiting for a friend, who promptly joined him in a t-shirt, trousers and a turquoise cape-jacket – also pleated. This coming and going continued in the silence of the garden, which was broken only by the twittering of birds. The looks played with different combinations of saturated colours: lime and violet, fluorescent pink and cobalt blue, orange, green and canary yellow.
All of a sudden, this silent ballet was interrupted by joggers, who strode across the park in jogging pants and large pleated shorts, and were followed by actual dancers who performed graceful steps in trousers drawn tight at the ankle, jumpers and loose jackets. Sporting sandals, they looked perfectly at ease in their light, elegant clothes, which channelled a Japanese-style silhouette. These dancers, in turn, soon found their progress across the park blocked by a group of models kicking a red ball between them and wearing buttonless silk coats and drawstring pants.
The models continued their circuit around the park, playing around like a group of friends with light, graceful movements. Then it was the turn of the acrobats, who performed cartwheels and roundoffs in their attractive checked knitwear pieces.
Suddenly the sea took over the hitherto tranquil square, as a new group of dancers with delicate movements were accompanied by the sound of breaking waves. They wore loose throw or robe-like jackets painted in bright colours. With large sleeves and no buttons, these pieces were reminiscent of kimonos and opened into butterfly wings when their wearers stretched out their arms. Here the sky clouded over and it began to rain, but the models simply brought out umbrellas with which they improvised a new ballet.
The grand finale was time for fun and games played out to the rhythm of drums. A band of women with a range of percussion instruments invaded the garden, while the models danced among ribbons hanging from a pole to the inviting strains of a samba that almost made one want to join in. Indeed, spectators and onlookers alike didn't need to be asked twice when the models invited the show's audience to participate in the contagious mirth, happily mixing with Issey Miyake's hommes plissés in a delightful dance of liberation.
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