Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pleats Please Me, Oh Yeah

Smack in the middle of the week, just when a girl could really use an eye-opening change of pace, we headed downtown to one of our favorite shopping and partying venues - the Issey Miyake store in Tribeca - for a party celebrating Taschen's book launch of Pleats Please Issey Miyake.

Amazingly colorful examples of Miyake's pleated creations hung from the rafters and appeared throughout the store, reminding us of how revolutionary the process and designs were at their start eighteen years ago, and how relevant they remain today. Many of the guests, ourselves included, wore Pleats Please or Issey Miyake creations in homage to the master. Hopefully, the pictures below will show the diversity in the styles and colors of Miyake's clothing on both men and women.

Here we are with Zari Awodein, creative director and buyer for the Tribeca store.

No sooner had Valerie arrived and gotten a small cup of Prosecco than she dropped her camera and spilled her drink on these poor bystanders and all over herself. Rather than upbraid her for her clumsiness, the woman scooped Valerie's camera up off the floor, saying that her own camera had once been destroyed when it got wet, and the gent commiserated with Valerie. They are champs, and Valerie owes them far more than the abashed thank you she gave them then. Later, another guest spilled her drink all over Valerie, and she had a chance to pay forward the kindness of these two people.

Photographer/blogger Ryo Miyamoto, 'Sato' and Davey posed for a photo. We loved how Davey's African neckpiece worked so well with his black Miyake tunic. Check the black and white shoes.

Louise Doktor and Tim John, two favorites of Bill Cunningham (no surprise there). (Photo credit: many thanks to 24 Hour People Party. We found this on their website.)  Our readers will recognize Tim's ivory carved head as the piece he bought at the recent Stella Pier Antiques Show.

This gentleman, in head-to-toe Miyake, is obviously fearless about wearing color.

Men, too, can and should wear purple.

We were quite envious of this gent who confided he'd managed to score this terrific quilted reversible Miyake coat at an upstate thrift shop.

Jean posed with Grace, an incredibly chic and impossibly tall and slim Amazon of a woman.

These two both have great hair, and fashion forward outfits.

Sign of the times. Great dress.

Jean and Riche, one of Tim's friends.

Isn't this a cute young couple?

Artists Christina Stahr and Paul Hunter were sweet enough to pose for us. Loved Christina's pewter Miyake shrug over her long black Miyake dress.

Brandon Acton-Bond, who posed with two of his friends, paired his snug orange Miyake tee shirt over a long sleeved plaid shirt for a cool and casual look.

We reconnected with Epperson, whom we met at the Brooklyn flea market. He was selling some wonderfully creative outfits of his own design, but didn't yet have a website we could check out.

Behind this woman are two strategically placed heads that make her appear to have two pony tails, but actually she has a very chic bowl cut. Very chic everything, in fact.

Gallery owner Yoshiko Ebihara and friend check out the rainbow colored dresses hung from the ceiling.

In addition to red and white wine and bubbly, refreshments included cupcakes with a green tea truffle-like center and pink frosting, catered by Kyotofu Modern Japanese Desserts. Take our word for it, they were yummy! This shot gives you an idea of the colorful new Miyake collection available at the Tribeca store.

One of the many wonderful outfits sprinkled throughout the store.

Pieces of clothing from previous Pleats Please collections were on display. Check out the black and white jumpsuit with the amazingly long legs and the dress covered in eyes.

These dresses were taken out of the archives as part of the celebration of the book's publication.

Nancy Knox has a very long association with Issey Miyake. Here, she wears a dress by Cai Guo-Qiang, famous for his fireworks, which he calls 'explosion events'.

In 1998, Cai Guo-Qiang did a collaboration with Issey Miyake, in which 63 white garments were placed end to end in the shape of a dragon, dusted with gun powder, and then ignited to make completely unique and spontaneous designs. The photo below is taken from a video demonstrating the entire process.

If you'd like to see the entire video (it's about two minutes long), click here. (If that doesn’t work, paste this into your browser: After the explosion event, several of the burned garments were chosen to be copied. Photographs were taken of the burn marks, and they were printed onto unburned garments.

Legendary photographer Rose Hartman, who started her career chronicling 1980s nightlife, especially the scene at Studio 54, stopped to chat. Want a real treat?  Check out her latest book, Incomparable: Women of Style, published in September 2012.

The party was centered on the main floor. Just before the end of the party, we drifted downstairs, and there was so much more to see. Jean shows one of the dresses from the new season.

Rose joined us in our expedition downstairs to look at the merchandise. Both she and Valerie found coats that "spoke to them". Valerie couldn't resist trying on this non-pleated reversible black and blue coat from the current Miyake collection. When we played our usual "if money were no object" game, this was Valerie's choice (well, one of her choices...). It is the Japanese version of Talking Head David Byrne's giant white suit.

Does the silhouette look familiar? This poster illustration is dated 1921 by Liubov Popova for the Russian theater.

Rose's choice of favorite item? This deep blue quilted single breasted coat.

Jean's choice? This icy silver hooded coat that just screams out for Grace Jones!

Where did the time go?  Before we knew it, they were flickering the lights, signaling the end of the evening.  Reluctantly, we retrieved our coats, said our final goodbyes and headed for the door.

Artist SunHe Hong was leaving at the same time. We were all dressed for the chilly evening air.

And so, off to have pleated dreams...


What we're wearing:

Valerie is wearing: unlabeled vintage hat with contemporary hand signal book marks; orange costume earrings; Pleats Please dress and fish tail skirt with geometric symbols (skirt from Jean, in an even Pleats Please exchange between friends that we'll have to tell you about sometime); unlabeled diaphanous black shirt; Big Bird head rings from Pylones; Arche shoes and Searle coat.

Jean is wearing a black vintage Maeve Karr for Donna Karan New York hat; deep blue Pleats Please baloon pants; Topshop peplum jacket; Pleats Please bag; Trippen boots; silver lacquer metal gumball necklace; aluminum and marble vintage earrings; assorted vintage bakelite and gold rings.


  1. I am awed by all these pictures. First, I am so jealous you have access to such wonderful stores in NYC. The clothing on everyone you photographed was just amazing and your outfits always are so creative and wonderful.

  2. i really think you girls should have a reality show. i know i would watch it!

  3. What a feast of an event and resulting post! Gorgeous crowd, ad the two of you look amazing as usual. I love the dream garments - mine would be the eyeball dress.

  4. OMG, a Miyake Wonderland!!! Let's see, I'll take one of the silver hooded cloaks, a black tunic like Davey is wearing, and the dress Jean is holding...You two have waaay too much fun. Valerie, I think this is one of my favourite outfits of yours, including the customized hat!

  5. I'm swooning over the vertical headwear and the incredible coats.

  6. That silver lacquer metal gumball necklace that Jean is wearing...would LOVE to know where one can find something like it! Great post!