Lisa Robertson at Artforum:
THOUGH I DIDN’T CRY FOR BOWIE, I cried for Issey the way I cried for Leonard Cohen. My best friend wore Issey’s perfume, which bottled the sensation of water on skin. I have a few of his Pleats Please garments, harvested from eBay, and there is a thrifted, asymmetrical, gray ribbed heavy wool pullover sweater that I still regret giving away. It was from the early ’80s, like the raw silk, pleated madder-red smock I still treasure for its color and drape. His garments tend to stay with you. My ninety-six-year-old Parisian mother-in-law recalls an Issey jacket she bought decades ago. It was a green wool—the color of a traveling cloak, she says—unlined, light but warm, with a quality she describes as enveloping, raising her hands as she says this as if to grasp a generous collar to shelter her neck and face against a piercing wind, or an unwelcome glance. This feeling of envelopment, both calming and freeing, is at the heart of Issey Miyake’s oeuvre. You experience the garment as shelter at the same time as its interiority liberates an emotional and expressive pleasure. My mother-in-law’s gestural enactment of her remembered Issey jacket defines the designer’s paradoxical lyricism. His garments wrap you in lightness. There is a kind of phantom smock hidden in everything he made.