Aug 20, 2011 12:00AM

Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue

An exhibition exploring the creative relationship between Issey Miyake and Irving Penn.

In the eighties, Issey Miyake, along with Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, shook up the Western fashion world. "Who are these softly spoken Japanese designers and why are they making such loud and crazy clothes?" asked the shoulder pad-clad fashion editors of the decade style forgot.

Miyake's work is characterised by voluminous silhouettes and origami-like pleats. He enjoyed extending fabric beyond the confines of the body —and legendary photographer Irving Penn enjoyed photographing the result. As Penn noted in the introduction to his 1988 monograph, Issey Miyake: Photographs By Irving Penn, "Miyake's designs are not fashionable, but women of style are enriched by them and are made more beautiful by them."

The two began what is quite literally a visual dialogue after a mutual acquaintance began bringing select pieces from Miyake's studio in Tokyo to Penn's in New York. Breathing new life into the already vibrant garments, Penn's images are both a homage to Miyake's work and a testament to his own.

A new exhibition in Tokyo will showcase these images, as well as an animated film by Pascal Roulin and original drawings by Michael Crawford. Irving Penn And Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue is showing at Suntory Museum of Art from September 16th, 2011 through to April 8, 2012.