He probably would not have liked us to look back on his half-century of inventiveness, as he turned away from the unspeakable horror of the past, Issey Miyake, a man born in 1938 in Hiroshima, whose memory was intoxicated by the black rain, memories burned by a nuclear bomb, life burned by her mother’s grief and physical suffering.
He would no doubt have grimaced at the reading of the imperfect, he who remembered only the future, he who never ceased to seek, to experiment, to innovate with new old or future materials, craft and familiar, such as raffia, hair, abura gami, Hand-oiled Japanese paper, used for umbrellas or washi, or new, such as this synthetic resin infusion used to make bustiers or this fibre-reinforced plastic.
He would no doubt have worn out a strong and chronological tribute to him, who, when he was made commander of the Legion of Honour in Tokyo in 2016, during his last major exhibition at the National Center, The work of Miyake Issey“I’m surprised and confused, I wonder if I deserve this award.” , he who had refuted the term «retrospective» for his first large-scale exhibition organized at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 1988 in Paris, and left visitors the freedom to choose their own itinerary, as for that, ten years later, at the Fondation Cartier, he, the creator of the "A piece of cloth", clothing without fabric scraps, seams or a priori contours, before being worn.
He would no doubt have been embarrassed to hear our admiration and gratitude, to have come to France, to have accepted this invitation made for the first time to a foreign creator, to have taken roots and work in Paris since 1965, to have joined the Ecole de la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne, then Hubert de Givenchy, and to have once again chosen France in 1973, after having marched in New York, and then to unveil his prints at the Museum of Fabric Printing in Mulhouse in 1980 and his talent as a fabric architect in many public collections, such as those of the Centre Pompidou, the CNAP, or the National Museum of the History of Immigration. Issey Miyake dreamed of clothes in search of bodies, clothes as forms to be born in contact with bodies in movement, modern bodies, which move, which run towards tomorrow, clothes as living materials, which wrap, drape, In Japanese, says Miyake, we have three words: yofuku, which means Western clothing, wafuku, which means Japanese clothing, and fuku, which means clothes. Fuku may also mean good luck and, in a way, happiness. If asked what I do, I don’t answer or yofuku nor wafuku. I say I make happiness.”
He would no doubt have hated the fact that his passage on earth was engraved in the marble of words; he, the modest man who saw himself as a passer, obsessed with transmission, in a fashion as light and imperceptible as air, as fleeting as time.
Issey Miyake would no doubt have appreciated that this tribute remains unfinished, as if still surprised by life.
I extend my deepest condolences to his loved ones.