FOR ISSEY MIYAKE, who remains one of the most experimental and enduring designers in fashion, truly great design goes beyond changing the way we dress or how we decorate our homes—it's about liberating the mind and igniting ideas. In 1965, Miyake arrived in Paris from Japan to study haute couture. And for a few years, he did just that. In his classes at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, he learned how to tailor a perfect jacket and sew a perfect cocktail dress. It was all very refined, bourgeois and expected. Then came the Paris strikes of 1968, when French students protested everything that represented the postwar establishment. For Miyake, the riots were an awakening. "I realized that the future was in making clothing for the many, not the few," says the 74-year-old. "I wanted to make clothing that was as universal as jeans and T-shirts."
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