To the smooth yet slightly unsettling marimba sounds of the SR9 trio (who could make a great Wes Anderson montage score) this Issey Miyake show was presented onstage at the Théâtre du Châtelet. To say it sometimes fell flat is no negative potshot: Satoshi Kondo’s collection was entitled The Square and Beyond and in some phases was reminiscent of fall 2012’s purposefully 2D Commes des Garçons collection.
Taking the square as a starting point he began by inserting his models into diamond-orientation square garments—color-blocked high pants, shirting, and a romper—which were then folded to create ceremonially priestly shoulders and waistlines. Then he blended white-edged black square knit panels (stretched for 90 degree properness by warp and weft and their positioning on the bodies within them) against satin-sheen viscose shirts and uppers. This phase then moved into a green and white colorway, accessorized by drooping square-brimmed hats and square-clad handbags. Next up was a check phase that relished how mixed material fabrics whose elements responded differently to heat shrunk irregularly to create a 3D puckered finish in abstracted blanket like patterns.
Knit top-to-toe looks contained forms that were elevated, fin like, off the body by the tension in their construction. Gathered plissé dresses created a Bridget Riley-esque dazzle of pattern that undulated around the forms inhabiting them. Wide-lapeled coats in what looked like fuzzy orange Casentino cloth were followed by a series of Mondrian-adjacent ribbed pieces featuring blown up angular panels of color and black and white. Kondo began with geometry’s go-to normcore symmetrical building block then pulled it here, pushed it there, and turned the square into something much more stimulatingly strange to consider.