Understatement is an art form in Japan and the behind-the-scenes artistry at work in Miyake's clothes paid tribute to that tradition.
In the past few months, the Issey Miyake design team painstakingly learned the age-old technique of Washi paper bonding, knitting and canvas making. Their teacher — an elderly Japanese lady — is the only surviving expert in the tradition.
Voluminous but stiff cagoules, blousons and jackets in airy white and charcoal black filed by at the Paris show. Their cool, starch stiffness was achieved by bonding paper with rayon before laminating the surface.
Oversized ponchos with knee-length shorts that had sporty yellow markers were achieved by cutting paper into narrow strips and then twisting it to make yarn. They are apparently completely washable.
It was a shame that the designers added another theme into the mix: cycling.
Several models wearing backpacks, which squashed the paper tops, cycled down the runway on bicycles. The sporty distraction was the only element that took away from an otherwise diaphanous ensemble.
Flashes of bright reds and cobalt blues in cool shirts and V-necks reminded spectators it was summer, though it was hardly necessary in the weltering Parisian climate. Those attending the show were given designer ice packs to survive the heat.
Issey Miyake is a house that prides itself on being functional.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAPSuggest a correction