The Floating Shapes of Issey Miyake (1989)


When I was asked to shoot these images for Ritz Magazine I was really excited by the opportunity to work with Issey Miyake’s  latest sculptural clothes. I love innovation, particularly in design as I come from an art school background.  I could immediately see the potential in these incredible clothes. In my imagination I thought Miyake must have been influenced by the Marvel comics superhero Dr Doom (though I have no evidence of this) it’s just the flowing hooded cloak and the futuristic body armour gave the designs a really strong other worldly aesthetic.


Oddly enough, they looked absolutely beautiful but quite sedentary when I first saw these immaculately created works of fashion/art. I love the Japanese attention to the absolute finest detail; there is such a precision to Samurai armour for example. The thought of Doctor Doom with his cloak billowing through the air was foremost in my mind as I’d always been a huge Marvel comic fan. I used to have the most incredible collection of comics that were vaporised by all my divorces.




Luckily Ritz Magazine had provided me with an extremely talented and robust model (in the form of the enchanting Sonia Cabano) who really took to the clothes and was very happy leaping around like a super hero. It became like a movie sequence she would leap in from the right of frame and I would try to capture her gazelle like movements. At first we had a couple of rolls of things that didn’t quite work, but then after my animated Doctor Doom impersonations and making of shapes (which must have looked hilarious) we had a breakthrough. I showed her as close as I could, with the arms, the legs, the hands, the pointing of the toes and the facial expressions, what I was aiming for. Then with patient perseverance she really delivered and got into the process.


When I work, my technique is to show the model exactly what I am physically looking for. I do not leave it to chance and am very directional about the way they should present themselves within the frame. It’s a kind of animated script and I find it doesn’t inhibit the model, quite to the contrary once they get the idea they take it on and make it their own. That’s the basis of the collaboration between the model and the photographer at least that’s the way I work. I have to also thank you Issey Miyake San for designing and continuing to design such wonderful creations.


Update – The fabulous Sonia Cabano now runs a really exciting food blog in Cape Town called Eat Drink Cape Town – which is a lot of fun – check in out here.

  • Clive Arrowsmith is shooting stunning images, staging exhibitions and is as passionate about photography as he was when he first pressed the shutter at The Paris Collections. He is available for global media opportunities related to his work and photography generally. SEE OUR  *Kickstarter Campaign for LIMITED EDITION PETER GABRIEL REFLECTIONS EXHIBITION CATALOGUE – HERE – Bespoke prints from Clive’s archive are also available by special request, for any enquiries  (email Eugenie here). Clive’s book Arrowsmith: Fashion, Beauty & Portraits is available hereand Lowry at Home: Salford 1966 is available here

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