Skirt, womens, pleated polyester, designed and made by ISSEY MIYAKE, Japan, 1993 (made for the Autumn/Winter collection 1993), owned by Gene Sherman, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1993-2007.
This pleated skirt was designed by Issey Miyake (born 1938). Miyake established the Miyake Design Studio in Tokyo in 1970 after serving an apprenticeship in Europe and New York. 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. The designs of their garments were often monochromatic 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 polyester 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 of Japanese fashion and accessories, with a focus on the work of Issey Miyake, Yohji Yanamoto, Comme des Garçons and the Japanese-Australian designer Akira Isogawa, formed from the mid 1980s to 2004. The Collection reflects Sherman's individual style as well as her appreciation of Japanese design. Dr Gene Sherman is Director of Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) in Paddington, Sydney. Its predecessor, Sherman Galleries, founded in 1986, was one of Australia's major commercial art galleries until its closure in 2007. As director of Sherman Galleries, Dr Sherman 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 from 1995 to 2001 and special advisor to the Museum from 2002 to 2004. Born in South Africa, Sherman lives in Sydney with her husband Brian Sherman.
Ref. Mitchell, Louise (ed), The Cutting Edge. Fashion from Japan, exh. cat., Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney, 2005
Curator, Asian Arts & Design
In pleated garments such as this skirt, Miyake reversed 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.
Dr Gene Sherman has been collecting avant-garde Japanese fashion for over 20 years. Dr Sherman bought her first pieces of Japanese clothing at Rhonda Parry's boutique in Double Bay in the lmid 1980s. Since then, she has primarily worn clothes designed by Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. Gene Sherman maintains a wearing wardrobe of approximately 20 pieces. She has said "when I acquire something, I retire a piece into my archive". Sherman had boxes made to museum standards and stored 'retired' pieces from the collection in her attic.
Referring to this garment Gene Sherman has said: Issey Miyake gold weave skirt. Bought at the Miyake store in 1995 (June) at the time of the Australian contemporary art show at the Guggenheim (Soho). Wore many many times for various functions. Easy to pack. Judy Cassab painted my portrait wearing this skirt currently hanging at Rose Park. With my policy of keeping only 20-25 garments on the rack it eventually had to make place for others." (Gene Sherman collection note book 2009/16/62)
"This gold waved-skirt was an all-time favourite. I wore it often. It was probably the most out-there garment that I ever bought and that I've ever had in my wardrobe. The gold stands out in a way that doesn't usually appeal to me. I prefer the shapes and the forms to be the stand - out and structural statement, to be the design element that communicates to the outside world, as opposed to colour.... but this is quite a striking gold, an old gold. It was a soft, easy-to-wear skirt. It is not dramatic in terms of its manageability. It feels hugely comfortable. You could almost lounge around in it. I wore it many, times for various functions. I bought it at the Miyake store in New York." "It surprised me that I was able to wear it." I felt a little self-conscious originally in the gold skirt. I wore it with flat shoes, (which I always wear because I did so much standing during the 22 years of the gallery [Sherman Galleries]. In those days, flat evening shoes were hard to find. The shoes and the belt I wore were quite work-a-day and the top always simple. The gold dominated visually, however it was so comfortable that I felt at ease wearing it." (Interview with Gene Sherman by Claire Roberts, 15 December 2008)
The donor purchased the object in New York.