In an industry that’s all about speed, youth and the new, new thing, Yohji Yamamoto stands apart. He’s old-school, right down to his tobacco-scented fingertips, and at 80 years old that’s not going to change. This is a man who was born during World War II, when bombs were falling on Tokyo, and who still carries “a darkness inside” from the old days.
Backstage after the show, Yamamoto lit up a cigarette (no electronic ones for him), and talked about the old days, and how he bonded immediately with his German pal Wim Wenders because they were both children of war. “We’re like brothers. We share the same memories,” he said.
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He tapped Wenders, and other friends of the house, to walk in the show, which was about family, tradition and history. Models were old and young, tall and short, male and female. Many of them walked in pairs, and could have been old friends or family members taking a Sunday stroll.
They wore similar clothes such as the designer’s long, sweeping coats and boxy jackets with all sorts of adornments: paintings of women in sensual poses, gold feather brooches, and cryptic or nonsensical messages sewn in blocky letters on the back and front.
One read: “I love Yohji but he is for sale,” while another declared, “YoYo loves black. Is your underwear black? Is it transparent?”
“People should be free to express themselves,” said the designer, who also took his masterful tailoring up a notch.
In a season of statement shoulders, Yamamoto made some big declarations, crafting epaulets that looked as if they were molded from clay, and making others from leather straps and buttons. The puffed shoulders on a long jacket looked as if they were swiped from a Victorian lady’s blouse.
Yamamoto’s collections are poetic, although this season there were too many lines. He could have cut the show time in half, and used a less soporific soundtrack. But, hey, what’s the rush?
“Calmness is important,” said Yamamoto, explaining his choice of soft, slow music, including a rendition of Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” and a version of “The Little Drummer Boy.”
“I don’t want to surprise people with sound. I want to surprise them with my clothing,” said the designer, who’s happy with his place in fashion’s firmament.
Launch Gallery: Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme Men's Fall 2024
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