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Issey Miyake Black Sculptural Dress "Reverse Pleats" Collection Museum 1989
Futuristic Japanese designer Issey Miyake is a master of form and fabric, known for creating beautiful sculptural garments that pay homage to the past while bringing us somewhere new and enchanting. Eschewing the traditional way of constructing garments from pre-pleated fabric, Miyake developed his own method of ‘garment pleating’, creating permanent pleats using a heat press after constructing a garment’s desired shape.
This technique created remarkable clothes that maintain their shape, may be folded flat, and do not crease. From his 1989 Reverse Pleats Collection, this incredible museum held dress is a fine example of Miyake’s interest in folding techniques and desire to create pleated garments that move. Done in black polyester, an ideal fabric for pleating, this dress is rare and highly collectable.
The reversed micro pleated fabric of the dress has horizontal creases along the sleeves and body of the dress which are used to create upward folds, a technique that was later refined in Miyake’s 1995 Lantern Collection. Beginning with a simple, slightly off-center V neckline, the voluminous, asymmetric fabric at the shoulders takes center stage, and may be manipulated into upright shapes or abstract folds which resolve in various peaks, giving the eye something new to appreciate at each angle.
The somewhat dainty long sleeves reach over the wrist, skimming the knuckles, while the horizontal upward folds of the fabric create a tiered, three-dimensional spiral around each arm which repeats along the body of the dress itself, creating a pleasing textural rhythm throughout. The upward folds of the dress follow the natural lines of the body in a spiraling zig-zag from the bodice all the way through to the asymmetric hem, which reaches several inches below the knee.
*pleats have some stretch the measurements show the range from smallest to most give
Bust: 30-34 inches
Waist: 26-30 inches
Hips: 32-38 inches
Length: 49 -52 inches
Depending on how material is manipulated by the wearer, the view from the back of the dress may be one of voluminous, spiraling folds at the shoulders, rather like a structured shawl that lends drama to the Avant Garde silhouette of the dress. A structural masterpiece, this sophisticated midi-length dress will draw attention whatever the occasion, and certainly is, as Miyake once said of his clothes, a tool for the “wearers creativity.”
Part of the LACMA collection, this 1989 Issey Miyake dress is in excellent condition and has been professionally eco dry cleaned and pressed. High-quality vintage pieces like this are yours to live in and love while increasing in value every year. It’s never too soon to start collecting them, as an investment in your wardrobe—and in yourself.