Fashion: Cut out and keep

Would you pay pounds 480 for a piece of cloth? Well, it is by Issey Miyake, and you can make a complete wardrobe from it. There's a dress, a bag, a pair of knickers ... even a pointy hat. Susannah Frankel follows the dotted lines. Photographs by Sandro Sodano. Styling by Sophia Neophitou

Pass me the scissors - NOW!" is not what a fashion editor wants to hear upon arrival at a photographer's studio of a morning - a morning that's not even 1 April, actually. Why not take a knife to hundreds of pounds worth of designer merchandise and not even care? What's money, after all?

In this particular instance, however, the designer in question will not, we are reliably assured, be sending in an invoice or even an angry letter complaining that his precious creation has been, well, violated for want of a better word. Rather, Issey Miyake - for it is he - the godfather of Japanese fashion and, to many, still the world's most inspired designer, positively encourages such intervention. The thinking goes that we're the ones who are going to end up wearing the garment, so why not adapt it to suit our needs? In a world where designers (predominantly male) can be all-too-ready to dictate to women what they feel they should wear, it's a refreshing, democratic, approach. But then who would expect anything less of Miyake, fashion's greatest innovator.

This latest happily interactive venture - just another to add to an impressive array of groundbreaking contributions - is labelled A-Poc (A Piece of Cloth), which is exactly what pounds 480 will buy you. A-Poc is not just any old bolt of fabric, however. In a single piece of cloth the customer will find a dress - a dress so long that, when worn it forms a pretty puddle on the floor or a mid-calf- length version; a dress with short or three-quarter-length sleeves or even ones which transform into mittens covering the hands completely. Or maybe the prospective buyer would prefer a skirt and top combination? Miyake to the rescue! Simply cut along the tiny threads holding each garment to the cloth and, Bob's your uncle, as they say. Also hidden in the cloth is a pointy hood/hat, a drawstring bag, a purse, a pair of knickers, socks and a bra. There's even a special water bottle holder, just large enough to accommodate a bottle of Evian. No (fashionable) stone has been left unturned.

As a single piece, A-Poc is so lovely it seems almost painful to cut into it, woven as it is with its own sweet patterns that include tiny pairs of scissors to indicate exactly where each garment should be cut, and each piece is also dated. Like so much of Miyake's work, A-Poc 1999 is likely to become a collector's item in the not-too-distant future.

For the moment, A-Poc comes in bright green, red, white and rather more sober navy. There is A-Poc King (with a roll- or high V-neck dress) and A-Poc Queen (with a more sexy, plunging neckline). It might seem daunting to attack A-Poc with your kitchen scissors but, that is, after all, what its designer intended. Once you've created your capsule wardrobe (oh, and the whole lot packs into the largest of the A-Poc handbags) it looks not unlike innovative Eighties design company Body Map at its finest, only where you cut the seams, little tufts of material are left behind giving your A-Poc a slightly otherworldy, though always gentle, appearance. This is very Issey Miyake.

Miyake intends to develop A-Poc in much the same way as he has the immensely successful Pleats Please line. This, like A-Poc, started life as part of the designer's main line and with prices to match. Through increased popularity and thus mass-production it is by now reasonably priced. "My first dream," Miyake once told me, "and why I first decided to open my studio, was that I thought to myself, `If I could one day make clothes that have the impact of T-shirts and jeans, I would be very excited.' But the more I worked, the more I felt far away from doing so. I was always doing such heavy things, far away from the people. And then I was thinking, `Are you stupid?' Don't you remember why you started designing in the first place?' And then I thought, `OK, Pleats Please.' So I started to think how to make it, how to wash it, how to co-ordinate it, even how to pack it. And I worked hard on keeping the price down."

So, for autumn/winter 2000, A-Poc Alien is due to arrive at a store near you. By then jackets complete with zips and buttons will have evolved. A-Poc Eskimo, meanwhile, is a cuddly winter take on the original with cute stuffed seams. Finally A-Poc Cupid - the individual pieces already cut out for you so that you can buy just one or two items - will be available later on this summer.

Issey Miyake's noble career spans three decades. That is a long time in fashion. It is a sobering thought that, in his early 60s, he remains one of very few fashion designers to truly challenge our notions of dress. A-Poc is no exception. As easy to wear as designer clothing can be, washable, packable and very, very beautiful, it is just one in a memorable catalogue of the most brilliantly conceived designs

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    BC2

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

    SAP Data Migration Consultant

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

    Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

    £300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

    Linux Systems Administrator

    £33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice