Fashion Birthday: Issey Miyake


Happy 76th birthday to Issey Miyake, born on April 22, 1938! In celebration of the designer's birthday, we offer this provocative Issey Miyake orange and white ensemble.

Spring/Summer 2001
Issey Miyake
Museum Purchase

Issey Miyake (b. 1938) learned impeccable dressmaking skills at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in 1965. Yet in the wake of the decade's mounting social discord and political unrest, he came to believe that the bastion of haute couture was no longer relevant to postmodern lifestyles. Miyake opened his Tokyo design studio in 1970, focused on creating ready-to-wear clothing. "Sometimes my clothes are radical, probably sometimes challenging, but I try not to fear radical things," he explained.1 

Miyake's Spring/Summer 2001 menswear collection was termed "Pneumatic pret-a-porter" by the fashion press due to the air-filled padding built into many of the garments. This vivid ensemble was inspired by American football uniforms. The blazer is constructed of printed nylon mesh generally reserved for team jerseys; the knickers contain inflatable plastic bladders inserted over the outer thighs and knees to mimic players' protective gear. The clothing morphs the wearer's body into that of a sports hero, enlarging his frame into an imposing physique while cushioning it to withstand the blows of stressful urban living.


1 Wilcox, Claire. Radical Fashion (London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 2001), 112.

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