Issey Miyake’s Bao Bao bag celebrates 20 years as a design icon


Issey Miyake has at all times insisted that his work is design not vogue. Throughout his profession – he’s now 83 – he’s embraced craft, expertise and extra lately recycling. He’s labored with paper, revolutionary materials and reused bottle tops to create clothes that’s unisex and sculptural. While different designers began tendencies or made It baggage, Miyake is understood as the uniform of selection for creatives. Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck was Miyake. The designer has such a shut relationship to ceramicist Lucie Rie that she left him her button assortment when she died. Zaha Hadid was a fan of his oeuvre: one in every of her favourites was a padded kimono jacket that she most well-liked to put on the wrong way up. She additionally appreciated to hold a Bao Bao bag.

Issey Miyake Bao Bao bag Photograph: Courtesy of Issey Miyake

The Bao Bao is the college bag of the inventive industries. First and foremost, it’s an incredible piece of engineering. Created from a mesh cloth layered with small triangles of polyvinyl, as it’s crammed with objects after which meets the physique it’s remodeled into a myriad of shapes. When it was launched in 2000, Miyake named it the Bilbao as a homage to the Guggenheim Museum that had opened there in 1997. That constructing – by Frank Gehry – grew to become an immediate architectural icon. It appeared to blow up from the bottom in the identical method that Miyake’s clothes typically appeared to take form as soon as placed on to a human physique.

The bag has gone by means of many tweaks, in dimension and type and color, however in its 20 years, has by no means been swept up by the It bag hype. Not fairly costly sufficient (the common Bao Bao is round £300-£400) and too intelligent by half, although a factor of magnificence it’s extra mind than arm sweet. The V&A’s exhibition “Bags: Inside Out” (opening September) will function a Bao Bao Lucent Metallic Tote.

The 20th-anniversary innovation is a dramatic discount in dimension. Shrunk to simply 25% of its regular scale, the newest Bao Bao is a dainty miniaturisation that – fortunately for Miyake – is completely in tune with the dramatically decreased choices we’re at present dwelling by means of.


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