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Pleat wave: the cult of Issey Miyake



Performers, art historians, musicians, gardeners, fashion critics – sometimes the appeal of a brand can unite men of different convictions. This is true of Pleated Man Issey Miyake, an offshoot of the Japanese fashion house that revolves around micro-pleated fabric. Since its launch in 2013, the brand – which hosts spectacularly lively catwalks during Paris Men’s Fashion Week – has grown into one of the most inclusive lines in men’s fashion.

Samuel Ross, the creator of the London brand A COLD WALL *, successively uses the words “durability, necessity, function, lightness, giving, buoyancy, malleable” to explain the growing attraction of Homme Plissé for a large church of style-oriented men. Ross is actually wearing Pleated Men’s pants during our conversation. He first discovered Miyake through his fiancee and business partner Jennifer Onojeide and his right-hand man Yi Ng, who wears Folds please, the female equivalent of the men’s ready-to-wear brand Miyake.

Fashion designer Samuel Ross wears Homme Plissé at his London home

Fashion designer Samuel Ross wears Homme Plissé at his London home © Jeff Hahn

Before wearing the label himself, Ross says, “I saw clothing as items and works of art, more than a design piece that I wanted to interact with on a daily basis.” Now he describes wearing Homme Plissé, of which he has a vast collection, as “putting on a second skin”. He greatly appreciates the malleability of the fabric. “Its ability to hold but also to bend and twist in such an elegant way is due to the engineering and milling of the fabric.”

This unique material, constantly sought after since 1988, is pleated after sewing to create a fabric that is lighter and easier to move. The process of making these “seihin folds” can now be seen firsthand in the first Man Plissé flagship store in Minami-Aoyama, Japan, which opened in July 2019. In addition, these garments travel well in a suitcase. , do not need to be ironed, can be thrown in a washing machine and are very, very comfortable.

Fashion critic Tim Blanks

Fashion critic Tim Blanks © Jeff Hahn

Blanks discovered Homme Plissé in 2003

Blanks discovered Homme Plissé in 2003 © Jeff Hahn

Fashion critic and Fashion company Another Miyake fan is writer Tim Blanks. “Don’t think about it,” he retorts when asked to capture the allure of Pleated Man. “Just put it on. Then we’ll talk. “Blanks has been wearing Miyake ever since Miyake himself designed it.” I was in a boutique in Tokyo in 2013, picking up the essentials, when Tiffany Godoy [a journalist] mentioned that there was a new line called Homme Plissé, a male response to Pleats Please, for sale. I froze. “Take me there,” I pleaded.

Blanks owns several suits and jackets at Homme Plissé, but it’s the pants that count the most, thanks to their elasticated waist and quick-drying ability. He adds: “My favorite piece will always be the last I bought: broken striped pajama pants. Before that it was a terracotta situation.

Blanks also notes the compatibility between Homme Plissé and the other Miyake lines – while their aesthetics are different, their attitudes are not. “Intelligence, humanism, joy of craftsmanship, fascination with technology,” he sums up. “There is a lesson in there for the rest of fashion somewhere.” On a simple level, Blanks also believes that “even if you wear it with the casual nonchalance of a hoodie or jogging pants, you will still receive compliments – maybe even a ‘Where did you get it. that? “. Homme Plissé strikes a balance between creativity and comfort. “

Garden designer Jonathan Moutrie

Garden designer Jonathan Moutrie © Jeff Hahn

Moutrie wears smart-casual Homme Plissé to meet clients

Moutrie wears smart-casual Homme Plissé to meet clients © Jeff Hahn

Jonathan Moutrie, a garden designer, discovered Miyake in the late 1990s through magazines he bought as a student, such as Vogue Nippon. On a recent trip to Tokyo, Moutrie said he was “blown away by the way Japanese men wear it in the stores, merchandising and unique pieces on offer.” He has now inherited a few Miyake pieces from his stepfather and considers Homme Plissé “the best piece.” In his day to day life, he wears Homme Plissé to meet clients, as it’s not too formal but feels appropriate and smart.

Uniformity is also a draw for Stuart Williamson, fashion editor of the biannual magazine. Fantastic man. “It will always look good, it’s not seasonal,” he says. “People are aware of this, especially now that we are all trying to be more aware and buy less.” His first purchase from Homme Plissé was a classic short-sleeved shirt in tomato red, cut in the shape of a box. “I love the variety of different lengths – I really like this longer shirt although I find it a little scary to wear.”

Roger Cook, 80-year-old art historian and writer, experiments with almost everything on the label. Her ever-evolving Plissé Men’s wardrobe includes a kimono-style yellow coat and “shock pink” pants alongside classic black pieces. He wears them at home, on his bike, at the Frieze Art Fair and on all kinds of engagements. He praises clothes for their elegance and ease, for their resistance and washing, and likes to invest in a brand rooted in Japanese tradition and technical innovation.

“Plissé’s advertising is aimed primarily at the youth or sport market, but I think it can be worn successfully and in style by seniors like me,” he says. “I was amazed that I could get away with very wide, skirt-like pleated pants, which brazenly defy the old-fashioned Puritanism of traditional British senior men’s attire. He adds, “The enormous bodily satisfaction I get from my Miyake wonderfully compensates for the depredations of old age.”

Art critic Antwaun Sargent has fallen for Pleated Man after seeing Solange Knowles in Miyake folds

Art critic Antwaun Sargent fell in love with Homme Plissé after seeing Solange Knowles in Miyake pleats © Jeff Hahn

Homme Plissé also draws on the ambiance of a unisex and genderless design. Writer and art critic Antwaun Sargent first timed Pleats Please Issey Miyake on Solange Knowles on her 2017 world tour, and immediately sought out black Pleated Homme pants. “I see more and more men wearing Issey Miyake whereas before it was more the province of women. If we think about how sex is becoming less restricted, it has arguably led men to seek out clothes that could have been considered feminine, ”he says. Sargent adds that her best friend also wears Pleated Man; they often share their rooms.

Calvin Holmes, fashion buyer for MatchesFashion, noted an increase in the brand’s sales. He discovered Miyake through his girlfriend’s Pleats Please obsession and has now built a Pleated Man wardrobe that includes colorful pants, two pleated blazers, shorts and a trucker jacket. “Homme Plissé staples are very popular,” he says. “They look great regardless of age, gender and body type. But the more directional pieces find an audience among people who want to make more statement. Plus, it wasn’t sped up by the celebrity hype, which helped maintain its design credibility. “

The basic collection of Homme Plissé is available in soft tones and includes suits, long sleeve tops and tapered pants. I have a black Pleated Mens Top that I put on when I want to wear something that isn’t overwhelming, but looks like it made a thoughtful wardrobe choice. Sargent agrees. He says the construction and simplicity of the clothes means that they “don’t overpower the wearer.” He adds, “Fashion doesn’t become a style until it’s personified, until people dress up and give them their own personality and outlook.” How perfectly Pleated Man.

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