When asked to review a Yohji Yamamoto collection, one cannot help to be humbled & wonder… Am I worthy? Is Yohji Yamamoto reviewable? I literally grew up idolizing the work of this Japanese master. In fact, he & his contemporaries (Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, & Matsuda) were the very reason I entered into this business to begin with. I still remember like it was yesterday, getting up early on Saturday AM’s to watch “Style” on CNN, where hostess, Elsa Klench would introduce American viewers to the wondrous designs walking down the runways of Europe in her English drawl… I was hooked. Yohji Yamamoto was literally some of my earliest memories of “real” fashion. Now, I’m being asked to observe & comment. I’m humbled…
For Spring 2012, Yamamoto presented a retrospective collection of sorts for his wildly successful, groundbreaking collaboration with athletic footwear giant Adidas, Y-3. Set against the faceted, LED lit backdrop upon which various lighting effects were produced ranging from the techno & stark to the tropical & lush. In front of this optically undulating installation walked the masterworks of Mr. Yamamoto. While some of the pieces were commercial & simple – or were they? – others were signature in every manner to the pieces Mr. Yamamoto literally originated in the market. Plays on proportion & volume meant to obscure the body below, yet still managing to allow a hint of sexiness to peak through, resulting in an even more alluring aesthetic than if he had chosen to expose rather than cover… brilliant in every stitch.
Yamamoto made ample use of the Adidas corporate “logo” (three equal stripes) usually in white, but did so in giant proportions that were so over sized, they weren’t immediately recognized as branding, but rather as bold pattern. Peppered amongst the sea of Black, White & Stone, were a few tropical floral patterns that read like updated Hawaiian shirts. These patterned pieces lent a sort of humorous casualness to the collection & reminded us all that while the master is in the house, Y-3 is at its core comprised of DNA rich with the traditions of sports, competition & leisurely fun.
It could be argued quite convincingly that Yohji Yamamoto could make a pocket t-shirt iconic simply by his having designed it & few would disagree. However, trust me when I tell you that the level of fashion sent down the runway on this fine day in September cannot be found on any other runway, in any other city, during any other season. Period. End of story. Mr. Yamamoto has spoken.
Designer website: www.y-3store.com
What we’ve said: Fall 2o12