Issey Miyake (Japanese, born 1938)
Gray, pink, red, and lavender cotton/synthetic blend knit with heat-embossed ribbing
Gift of Muriel Kallis Newman, 2003 (2003.79.16)
Consistently attentive to cloth's interplay with the human body, by 1985 Issey Miyake was becoming more artificial in his dimensionality, building architectural shapes and infusing the structures of his textiles with permanence and solidity. Miyake manufactured several heat-embossing and texturing processes through the Miyake Design Studio collective (established in 1970) and, alongside designer Makiko Minagawa, manipulated knitwear and synthetics after a garment was constructed by infusing pleats and bumps into otherwise tranquil weaves. The "Seashell" coat, also sometimes referred to as the "Shell-knit," is one of his most celebrated and independently iconic creations, with a heat-pleating post-process that coincides with the bands of color in the initial knit design. The organic architecture of the "Seashell" coat, as well as the visual splendor of alternate red, lavender, and pink stripes running between elegant gray ribbing, seems inspired by the designer's 1969 apprenticeship with cloth sculptor and design genius Geoffrey Beene.