PARIS - The hiss of a steam iron set the tone as Issey Miyake sent out an ingenious line-up of shrink-wrap pleated dresses at Paris Fashion Week on Sunday, the latest find from the ever-inventive Japanese house.
Old-fashioned irons in hand, black-and white clad assistants stepped onto the runway, where rectangles of pleated fabric were suspended at regular intervals, and proceeded - to the audience's delight - to steam them into shape.
Designed from a new house textile dubbed steam-stretch, the clothes morphed into body-contouring jersey dresses and the pleats pulled in around the figure, more or less depending on the garment pattern.
One became a short green-blue dress with close-fitting ribbed bodice, but with puff sleeves and cupped shoulders - created from the parts of the pattern that were not responsive to the steam.
Another became a floor-length red and tan sleeveless pleated dress, flared slightly at the ankles, for a casual, gently contouring look.
"It's an instant technique - a bit like microwave food. It's ready straight away," the house's young womenswear designer Yoshiyuki Miyamae told reporters through an interpreter backstage.
After the theatrical introduction, Miyamae sent out a string of pleated creations, from dove grey jersey dresses to draped coats and jackets, worn with chunky boots - both high and low - in black, tan and gold.
Among other eye-catching novelties, thick "waffle" coats were woven to resemble grids in black or white, with gold or turquoise glimpsed through the gaps, creating a 3D impression of depth, above geometric-patterned wool pants.
Miyamae earned warm applause for the playful collection, which had the legendary New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham grinning broadly as he snapped the last few colourful silhouettes from his front-row seat.