Who is Issey Miyake? We think president of Miyake Design Studio, Midori Kitamura, explains it best – in a bilingual, beautifully printed, meticulously-catalogued retrospective, published by Taschen in time for the Miyake exhibition currently showing at The National Art Center, Tokyo.

We love this mighty book; it’s essentially a one-stop encyclopaedia detailing Miyake’s technical innovations, his wild thinking, his conceptual propositions that constantly challenge the discourse of the design zeitgeist.

The book is neatly divided into two sections: a chronological archive of letter fragments and documentation that follow Miyake’s career from young obscurity to icon over 40 years, detailed by esteemed cultural figure (and founder of Tokyo's Sagacho Exhibit Space) Kazuko Koike with compelling intimacy and care to detail.

The second half is a spectacular collection of photographs taken of archive collections by Yuriko Takagi. Divided into separate narratives, “Earth/Wind”, “Water/Rebirth”, “Light/Mist”, “Colour/Pulse”, the images put the clothing where they feel most at home – in motion, within vastly subsuming, organic landscapes, and most significantly illustrating the relationship between the body, the clothing and the space between – a central Miyake proposition (entitled "A Piece of Cloth"). 

We particularly love the "Water/Rebirth" series, in which the clothes are captured underwater, swelling and warping in a whirlwind of bubbles: floaty tulles, origami pleats, lamé. The book is an evocative, textural cacophony that does justice to the heritage of Issey Miyake – and we think that's a rather impressive feat.

Issey Miyake, published by Taschen, is available online at Amazon. Long-sleeved top, Issey Miyake AW16.