In a previous post we looked at Japanese designer Kei Ninomiya who took inspiration for his S/S 18 collection from an impalpable element - air.
He wasn't the only one doing so, though: Yoshiyuki Miyamae opted to take his audience on an aerial flight in his collection for Issey Miyake.
Silhouettes may not have been new and the staples of Issey Miyake's womenswear - dresses and functional separates such as long skirts, relaxed blouses and ample jackets - were still there, but the level of technological innovations in constructions and fabrics was as usual mesmerising.
For example, the serenely smiling model who opened the show proudly walked in a wide asymmetrical poncho, its black fabric revealing as she moved a stylised airplane-evoking triangular motif.
More garments, made with the same fabrics but in brown and blue, followed, before the main inspiration - Iceland - was introduced on the runway.
Prints of rugged and wild places, crystalline glaciers, moss-covered rocks and the bluest skies appeared on tops, coats and skirts.
The fuzzy consistency of moss was replicated by three-dimensional soft short fringes in a yellow shade; the same effect was recreated on pure white dresses to hint at snow. All the designs were matched with footwear designed in collaboration with United Nude.
This bird's-eye view over sublime mountainscapes was to be interpreted as a visual representation of the memories of a research-trip to Iceland taken by Issey Miyake design team, yet it was filtered through the Japanese techniques the brand is well-known for.
The uneven and irregular zig-zagging white stripes that seemed to break the designs and cause glitches in the memories of beautiful landscapes were printed through the heat-baked glue technique (Baked Stretch).
Flattening steam stretched garments during the printing process, allowed the designer to create variations into the colours of the fabrics.
The power of Miyake's Steam Stretch fabric was clearly shown by three dancers - Aliashka Salamand Hilsum, Princess Madoki and Gala Moody - improvising at the very beginning of the show.
As the gaments stretched on their bodies, the colours changed, becoming lighter or darker, opening up new dimensions, almost symbolising the many layers of rock strata.
The earth was actually explored in one garment with a satellite representation of the planet (could also be interpreted as a reference to climate change and as a hint at the debates about fashion sustainability...), but the power of the earth was also evoked by the brown shade employed for some of these designs, made with the traditional Japanese Dorozome dyeing technique.
The process consists in mud dyeing fabric and it is an ancient technique handed down in the subtropical Amami Oshima island, known for its an iron-rich soil.
The fascinating origins of this technique go back to the Kingdom of the Ryukyus, who ruled the islands until the early 17th century. The Japanese samurais who conquered it claimed the island's kimonos as tribute, but islanders buried their garments in rebellion to hide them. When they dug them out, though, they found out that the fabrics had radically mutated shades and were drenched in a dark shade.
The checked and pixellated cube theme symbolised fragments of memories that join together to rebuild our memory. The notable thing about the cube theme is that the designs characterised with this motif form a square when flat.
Shame all these details about textile techniques get often lost during the frenziness of fashion weeks, they could indeed educate quite a few design students and inspire them to go beyond the mere prints finding new narratives in the folds and pleats of a garment.