Photos: Ian Reid
Issey Miyake's Pleats Please book had been sitting under a pile of press releases on my desk until two things made me dig it up this week: First off, the explosion of pleats on the runways for spring, and secondly, photographer Rachel Chandler Guinness who showed up to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards last week in a superchic belted jacket by the Japanese label.
The Pleats Please archive is roughly 20 years and 576 pages deep, and the introduction to the book reads like a manifesto for utilitarian fashion. Miyake conceived of the line for practical reasons—the fabric and be twisted and turned in any direction without losing its signature mirco-accordion shape—and if you're the type of person who leaves her clothes in a crumpled heap on the floor and/or, like me, is allergic to ironing, it might be the ultimate wradrobe.
I've bookmarked the chapter dedicated to a guest art series that was started in the mid-nineties, back when the idea of a designer collaborations was still relatively new. A self-portrait of Japanese Yasumasa Moimura's image wrapped in crimson netting and fused to a Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres nude is really striking done life-size on the body of a dress, but it's Nobuyoshi Araki's cheeky photos on the signature crinkled tank tops and dresses that I've been trying to hunt down on eBay. My favorite part of the book though, is photographer Yuriko Takagi's portfolio of Pleats Please imagery in far-flung corners of the planet over the course of four years. There are gorgeous pictures of people on the sacred river Ganges in Benares, India, actors who've traded their elaborate opera costumes for simple Pleats Please tunics in Beijing, and women walking across sand dunes wearing the label's brightly colored scarves in Morocco. It's eough to make you want to pack a suitcase of pleats, and strike out into the sunset.