Sunday, June 9, 2013

In Praise of Shadows* (and of Lights)

We recently attended the launch of Artemide's lighting collaboration with Issey Miyake at Miyake's Tribeca store.  Entitled IN-EI, Japanese for shadow, the collection combines Artemide's lighting expertise with Miyake's innovative approach to material and design. The collection of free-standing, table, floor and suspended luminaires is reminiscent of Isamu Noguchi's paper lighting fixtures but is more technologically advanced.

Constructed from recycled and treated materials which diffuse light (recycled PET bottles), the fixtures maintain shape without the need for internal framing. Miyake adapted origami folding techniques similar to those used in its approaches to transform flat pieces of cloth into garments. This is the IN-EI Mendori model.  Mendori is Japanese for hen, a hilarious name for a light, but completely appropriate given the shape.

Interspersed with the origami lights, of course, were selections of new origami dresses from Issey Miyake.

The construction of this black and yellow top is reminiscent of folding gift boxes.

Another origami design.

All the employees wore Miyake creations.

We had to get Midori to turn around so you could get the full effect of her outfit.

The dress on the left is also from the Miyake line, but takes a completely different approach.  We THINK the dress on the right is also Miyake.  The black lines in different thicknesses and lengths were intriguing.

Is this another?  We THINK so.  This store was designed by Frank Gehry.  Next to our model is a bit of his by now iconic undulating metal sheeting.

Zari Awodein, Creative Director for the Tribeca store, donned an Issey Miyake jacket and hat fabricated from recycled paper.

We are chagrined to say that we discovered - days after the event - that we'd been rubbing elbows with designer Gaetano Pesce.  If we'd known, we would have honored him by wearing a pair of his shoes.  We each own a pair of these.

Compounding our chagrin, we also discovered much too late that we had rubbed elbows with Cai-Guo Qiang (who was wearing a very interesting shirt).  He had a retrospective at the Guggenheim in 2008, but we know him because he collaborated with Issey Miyake in 1998 to make the gunpowder line for Pleats Please.  What you see in the picture below are dresses with digitized photos of the original gunpowder designs printed onto them.

Artist and friend Katherine D. Crone in a grey Miyake ensemble.

Davey Mitchell, known for his imaginative neckwear and combinations of styles, did not disappoint: Egyptian neck plate, Japanese pants; South American tunic; English creepers.

Louise Doktor and Timothy John.

24-Hour Party People DJ and photographer.

Andrew Chen, another Miyake associate, wore the most fabulous folded shirt with silver foil bib treatment.

Parker Moriwaki and Leszak Markiewicz. Check out Parker's fabulous glasses.  When we saw them later, they were leaving with a large Artemide box in hand. We're dying to know which one they chose.

IN-EI Mogura and Mini-Mogura fixtures. (Mogura is Japanese for mole.  These don't look like moles, so perhaps the name is a poetic reference to the dim light in mole tunnels.)

Tayler Carson Sandvick and Gregg Asher.  We met Gregg last year at Lincoln Center's Fashion Week.

Jerome, Andrew Medlin and Justin Ady.  Note the seam down the center of Andrew's shirt, a nice touch that adds flavor.

We had to show you Andrew's outfit from the back as well.  Can you see how the shirt seems to have three distinct 'phases'?  We didn't get close enough to see, so we don't know if that's done by varying the weave or the fiber or both, but we always love to see a man who's not afraid to experiment with his clothes.  Shorts are all the rage, and Andrew puts a nice new twist on that as well.

Cantilevered United Nude shoes that caught our eye.

Carlo (left), an Argentinian architect whom we'd met at an Issey Miyake party last year, and several of his colleagues from Spain and South America who were in town to accept architectural awards.

Artists Paul Hunter and Christina Stahl, whom we'd met at previous Miyake events.

Brandon Acton-Bond in CDG shorts.

We loved Reggie Nelson's colorful red, white and blue shirt.  It's almost certainly a Yoshiaki Yuki shirt from gallery gen.

Jan de Chabert, Rose and Tim John.

IN-EI Minomushi floor and suspension fixtures.  Minomushi is Japanese for bagworm.  Though considered a pest,  the bagworm nevertheless makes a fascinating cocoon when preparing to metamorphose, and different kinds of bagworms make different cocoons.

Here's a bagworm cocoon.  They dangle from tree branches, so you can see where the inspiration comes from.

Elena Kirioukhina and family.

Sinem Yazici, Randall Sachs and Henry Pierre.

Marybeth Welch in Miyake.

Amber Brown and Patrick Kilcullen. We loved Patrick's cropped pants and Amber's shoes.

What we're wearing

Jean is wearing a blue Issey Miyake jacket; black Eileen Fisher harem pants;  red Amy Downs turban; vintage red bakelite cuff, bracelets, earrings and rings; vintage red wooden gum-ball necklace; red leather cross-body bag; customized Dansko platform clogs.

Valerie is wearing a hand made needle-punched felt hat by Rae Stimson, blue suede earrings, Issey Miyake jacket, Issey dress, dual layered base metal bracelet from the flea market, really comfortable gray woven (nylon??) cutout flats by Bernie Mev.

* For more on the 1933 essay on Japanese aesthetics, In Praise of Shadows, by premier Japanese novelist Junichiro Tanizaki, click here.


  1. EEEEEEEeeeeee! Jean is wearing colour!! Rae's hat is FAB with Valerie's outfit! Soooo many gorgeous outfits! Can't cope with the awesome overload... "Faints"

  2. Spectacular Miyake wear. Including your jackets! This was an event not to be missed and loved that you took us with you.

  3. You are both DINIVE.
    I am in love with Japanese style. I can feel in the air that it is getting closer to my life.
    Thank you for sharing magic.

  4. Great Japanese style, your best Father's Day post since "Cool Daddy-O"! But of course I am a little bit biased. Love you Jean -Mikey...

  5. OH I just adore your style Valerie and Jean.
    I read about you in a Swedish newspaper and happily found your blog. I wish I dared to be the same way:) But I can amuse myself by looking at you. It is great!!!

  6. Good to see Parker Moriwaki again. He could reach me at

  7. wonderful photos and wonderful people!