By Erin Moonyeen Haley
There is much to be said about the square. According to Ukrainian artist Kazimir Malevich (1879 - 1935), the square "is not a subconscious form. It is the creation of intuitive reason. The face of the new art." In the hands of Satoshi Kondo, the artistic director and head designer for the Japanese fashion brand Issey Miyake, the square becomes a method of
returning to the quintessence of imagination; it is both the alpha and omega of the creative process and the genesis of all future endeavors.
Rarely is geometry the ethos of an entire fashion show, but, for Paris Fashion Week '23, the square was just that for the house of Issey Miyake. Sold colors, full forms, squares, rectangles and trapezoids tessellated across the runway with the same repetition that such shapes grid our everyday lives. In an interview, Kondo referred to shapes by their omnipresence, stating, "We're surrounded by them...The paper we use, the screens we look at...we worked with the square, investigating it in various ways, to transform it into new shapes and volumes." Such a thesis was played out in real life throughout the show that was aptly titled “The Square and Beyond", and was held at the Théâtre du Châtelet.
With the models strutting between rows of viewers, there was a sense of origami in motion, an aspect that was enhanced by the actual performance of Lyon-originated percussionists Trio SR9, who performed a live marimba rendition of Simeon ten Holt’s “Canto Ostinato. But it wasn't just the shapes and music that Kondo was playing with; he was toying with the space in between the shapes, an idea based on ma, "meaning the unfilled space between the outfit and the wearer."
In the end, it was a fashion show centered on the most basic, primordial elements - fabric, music, canvas and a square - that, when fused together, created a divine amalgamation of a new art form that Malevich himself might have prophesized.
~ Photos courtesy of Vogue