Skirt, womens, pleated polyester, designed and made by Issey Miyake, Japan, early 1990s, owned by Gene Sherman, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, early 1990s-2007
This pleated skirt was designed by one of the most well known Japanese designers Issey Miyake (born 1938). He established the Miyake Design Studio in Tokyo in 1970 after serving an apprenticeship in Europe and New York. Miyake belongs to the first generation of Japanese artists and designers after WWII. He is a leading international fashion designer whose garments are often inspired by aspects of Japanese tradition, culture and aesthetics.
Along with Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake stunned the fashion establishment in the early 1980s with collections that challenged conventional (Western) notions of dress, revoking traditional forms of tailored garments intended to fit body contours. Their designs were often asymmetrical, unstructured and oversized.
Since the 1970s, Miyake has consistently researched materials and technologies. In partnership with textile designer Mikiko Minagawa, Miyake applied traditional shibori tie-dying techniques to modern fabrics and created the pleated garments that make up the 'Pleats Please' range. Miyake's innovation was to reverse the conventional method of pleating fabric before cutting it to the design. Instead garments are cut out and assembled two-and-a half to eight times their proper size before setting the pleats. Miyake's aesthetic and technical innovations resulted in a collection of lightweight garments that are fast-drying, travel friendly and easy to store. The 'Pleats Please' collection has not only proved commercially and critically successful, but has greatly influenced popular fashion.
The piece forms part of The Gene Sherman Collection. The Collection reflects Sherman's individual style as well as her appreciation of Japanese fashion. Dr Gene Sherman is Director of Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) in Paddington, Sydney. Its predecessor, Sherman Galleries, founded in 1988, was one of Australia's major commercial art galleries, until it closed in 2007. Dr Sherman has organised many exhibitions of contemporary art from Australia and the Asia-Pacific region and has played an important role connecting art and artists in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Dr Gene Sherman was a trustee of the Powerhouse Museum between 1995 and 2001 and special advisor to the Museum between 2002 and 2004. Born in South Africa, Sherman lives in Sydney with her husband Brian Sherman.
Curator, Asian Arts & Design
This skirt was made by Issey Miyake in Japan in the 1990s. This piece is a significant example of Miyake's pleated garments design.
Issey Miyake applied traditional Japanese shibori tie-dying techniques to modern fabrics and created the pleated garments in the 'Pleats Please' range. Miyake's innovation was to reverse the conventional method of pleating fabric before cutting it to the design, instead garments are cut out and assembled two-and-a half to eight times their proper size before setting the pleats.
The skirt was owned by Gene Sherman in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
"Miyake. Probably early 90's. 4 layers only 2 remaining. Found in guest room closet." Reference from Gene Sherman's collection note book.
This collection of Japanese fashion, designed by four fashion houses, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons and the Japanese-Australian designer Akira Isogawa, was formed by Dr Gene Sherman from the late 1980s to 2007 and donated to the Powerhouse Museum in 2009 under the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
Dr Gene Sherman has been collecting avant-garde Japanese fashion for about 20 years. Dr Sherman bought her first piece of Japanese clothing - an asymmetrical one-armed leather jacket by Issey Miyake which is included in this donation - at Rhonda Parry's boutique in Double Bay in 1985. Since then, she has only worn clothes designed by Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons and Akira Isogawa. She explained that her wardrobe consisted of only 20 pieces, noting that "when I acquire something, I retire a piece into my archives". Sherman had special black cardboard boxes made to museum archival standards for storing these 'retired' pieces in her attic.