“First comes new beauty, then the continuing creation of new forms of beauty.” This line is iterated throughout Setsuko Miura’s very rare 1993 documentary “Issey Miyake Moves.” The work of Issey Miyake inspires many emotions, intrigue being a palpable one. From the design process to the clothes themselves, Miyake’s work is not bound up in the typical historical and cultural references which fashion is often trapped in. Rather, his work is informed by the human body, by aesthetic, and by technology. In saying this, he is not of the belief that a garment’s shape should be dictated by the wearer’s anatomy but by its ability to allow for freedom of movement—hence the documentary’s apt title “Issey Miyake Moves.” His design process is entirely bound up in researching new technological innovations for textiles which divorce his work from any conceivable referent. The resultant product is functional, aesthetic, and progressive. In creating the continuing collections “Pleats” and “Twist,” Miyake revolutionized the design process by adding texture to the textile after the garment has been fully constructed (typically in the design process, this is done before the piece is made). The outcome is a piece of clothing that is ambiguously shaped when lying flat but which takes on an inconceivably elegant form when worn. The textures create an interplay of light and shadow and the unique shapes encourage movement which ensures that the garment is never in stasis—it moves and transforms with its wearer. Each season, Miyake is consistently researching new textile innovations through which he can explore new iterations of his aesthetic.
In the documentary, Setsuko Miura chronicles the work of Issey Miyake over several years. This includes the installation of his exhibit at the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, his work designing the costumes for William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt and the outfits for Lithuania’s 1992 Olympic Team, the days leading up to his spring/summer 1993 show as well as the show itself, and explorations of his studio and factory which are the laboratories of his research. “Moves” is something like a pseudo-documentary, as it takes on the artistic reverence of an art film with the curiosity of a documentary. Miura explores the life and oeuvre of Issey Miyake while also creating a beautiful visual interpretation of his work for the viewer. The documentary in its entirety is about 50 minutes long—if the work of Miyake at all interests you, the time invested is worthwhile.