Ikko Tanaka Issey Miyake no. 4

Issey Miyake, the doyenne of cutting edge design, has the hands of a craftsman, the mind of a visionary and the sensibility of his native Japan. A thoughtful futurist with an impeccable style, Miyake is at the forefront of what we consider contemporary fashion. Constantly re-thinking fashion, balancing between an outrageous pretension and pretentious outrage, Miyake’s work is deceptively simple, expressive and powerful. Equally forceful is the work of Ikko Tanaka, renowned graphic designer, whose signature geometrical forms serve as a well of inspiration for IKKO TANAKA ISSEY MIYAKE capsule collections. Fourth in a row, the new collection presented this month possesses a certain curiosity and an attitude of ‘what else can happen’? The astute mastery in using geometrical forms with a certain Japanese twist to create bold imagery has made Tanaka one of the most prolific graphic designers of his time. His usage of abstraction is always fascinating, and such is Miyake’s unique interpretation of his various works. Both fun and elegant, the collection exudes minimalism and effortless purity.


Traditional in its composition but modernist in its execution, in its truest essence, this collection is inspired by a lifelong friendship. This time, two of Tanaka’s works have been chosen as motifs: Continuous Symbol and Circle. As per usual, it is difficult to trace the thin line between art and fashion. Although athleisure in design, each piece is utterly flamboyant and way beyond simple sporty. As emphasized in the released statement: ‘Focusing on the dynamism and humor of each work, as well as the feeling of warmth they impart, various materials were carefully selected for the details of each work. By expressing the powerful works of Ikko Tanaka, who continued his challenge to constantly create new value in the form of clothing, we wish many people to recognize the ideal form of design along with its sense of fun’. Between sporty coats and basic garments, such as leggings and blousons, with this collection Miyake takes us into his vibrant world of fashion, made of strength and everlasting enthusiasm that becomes the expressive key of his ethos. He has a talent for pushing the boundaries and presenting his work as an art form. The first of selected works, Circle 1986, serves as the basis for the collection. ‘Black as the central motif, in contrast with the subdued color tones of the background, emphasizes the sense of motion the circle possesses. Furthermore, the hand-drawn lines and colorful fragments within the main motif create a vibrant and warm impression.’ The second work, Continuous Symbol Series 1992 ‘was inspired by the dynamic space of the Otemae Art Center designed by Mr. Tadao Ando. Compared to previous graphic artworks, in which unstructured hand-drawn forms were often used, this series contains geometric shapes that are neatly arranged to express humor and warmth through minimalistic monotone elements.’

In collaboration with Issey Miyake Antwerp, I got to explore the exhibited pieces and witness the fluidity of shapes and a genuine monochromatic excellence first hand. The avant-garde atmosphere within the Belgian store only contributed to the notion of putting fashion on a pedestal. As the fashion literate poured in, they have proved that they are fully committed to reinvigorating the true values of fashion. Issey Miyake customers are creative thinkers; his collections celebrations of pliable human structure. Having power to (literally) shake one’s thoughts, Miyake’s credo embodies what the French call étonnement— shaking or astonishment. (fashion-wise, and otherwise, of course.)

To learn more about previous collections, click HERE.

To follow the work of Issey Miyake, click HERE.


Photo credit / Quoted references: Issey Miyake Inc. / Ikko Tanaka