Miyake’s Fall Winter 12-13 Paris runway show started out with a mise-en-scene of assistants steaming fabric lengths hanging on racks. As the audience watched, the garments took shape – stretching and shrinking, creating pleats that were pulled inwards with steam; while unresponsive areas puffed out into sleeves and cowl necklines. The end result- Genius!
Called ‘steam-stretch’, the innovative textile is ‘an instant technique’. Issey Miyake’s young womenswear designer Yoshiyuki Miyamae, said,” It’s a bit like microwave food. It’s ready straight away.”
The innovative “Steam Stretch” fabric can be programmed in advance, then to be transformed into different silhouettes with a simple “Steam finish”. Using “steam stretch” wool and stretch yarn, woven on a curve line and shrinking to create an undulating weave, producing a trompe l’oeil ribbed knit effect. Comparing the process to the polishing of rough stones into glistening jewels, the colorful shapes obtained out of a simple piece of cloth is meant to “bathe the wearer in their own multicolored brilliance”.
Miyamae named the collection “Mineral Miracle,” because of the natural elements built into the instant “steam stretch” technique. It also refers to a selection of the outfits featuring diamond-shaped facets that break up the cloth, with different colors and fabrics. But, “Mineral Miracle” was all about fabric innovation, staying true to Issey Miyake’s legacy.
As always, the Issey Miyake show turned out to be a beautiful display of textures and colors, focusing on their unique textile technology development.