For over thirty years Issey Miyake has, more than anyone else, redefined the boundaries of fashion, establishing the anti-structural look as a viable alternative to the dressmaking traditions of Parisian haute couture and its high cultural overtones. He says: "My challenge as a clothing designer has been to create something different . . . not traditional Japanese nor purely Western fashion. I had to start from the initial concept of clothing as the body covering."

Over the years, Miyake has collaborated with numerous weavers, artists, choreographers, photographers, and poets as part of his extensive, ceaseless exploration of the furthermost boundaries of what clothes can do and what they can be made from. Miyake's patronage of textile research has led to several innovations. For example, in 1971, working together with a Japanese dye printer, he developed laser-beam printing; during the 1980s his master weaver, Makiko Minagawa, succeeded in simulating traditional woven fabrics on state-of-the art computer driven looms; and in his 1999 "Pleats Please" collection, the garments were finished in a heatset pleating machine, which for the first time allowed the designer to create permanent pleating.

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