As the world mourns the death of fashion luminary Issey Miyake, one thing is certain: he left behind an immeasurable design legacy. Throughout the scope of his vast career, he revolutionized fabrication, introduced Japanese avant-garde style to the West, championed diversity on and off the runway, embraced color theory alongside minimalism, and pushed the boundaries of “art as fashion.”
Few designers are responsible for disrupting the industry and rewriting the design canon in as influential a way as Miak. With a background in graphic design, and trained in Paris under leading couturiers LaRoche and Givenchy, as well as Geoffrey Bain, Miak’s unique education informed much of his work.
It’s no wonder her design language has impressed everyone from the Olsen twins and Solange to Kim Kardashian and Rihanna. Late design maverick purpose and always created with a unique vision, which makes Issey Miyake clothing so alluring. To own a Miyake piece is to own a piece of moving sculpture.
Many timeless design codes cement Miyake and his work into culture. There’s Issey Mikaye’s bag, the Bao Bao, which is a cult favorite of the art crowd and street style set, as seen in the likes of OG blogger Susie Lau. And who can forget Steve Jobs’ infamous sleek black turtleneck, designed exclusively by Mia? Yet another timeless Miyake signature is the sleek, minimalist product design of his namesake perfume bottles. Miyake was always on the pulse, always in touch with the zeitgeist even when he was years ahead.
From the signature pleated fabrication house code to his lifelong friendship and work-muse relationship with fashion icon Grace Jones, let’s look back at six essential design elements and moments from the architectural designer’s front.