By  on February 4, 2008

YORK — Two sides of Yohji Yamamoto were revealed in the Meatpacking District over the weekend when a signature store bowed at 1 Gansevoort Street and a Y-3 unit was unveiled across the street at 317 West 13th Street.

The Yohji Yamamoto store is designed to look like an art gallery, which seems natural for the designer, whose work has been exhibited in museums around the world. It features the women's and men's collections, accessories and Stormy Weather, Yamamoto's jewelry collaboration with Mikimoto. It is the designer's first store in Manhattan since the SoHo flagship opened at 103 Grand Street 20 years ago.

According to a spokeswoman, the store has a three year volume projection of $1.5 million.

As with the designer's clothing, there's more to the space than immediately meets the eye. When Yamamoto saw the triangle-shaped building, he and architect Junya Ishigami decided to take the radical step of slicing through it from one side to the other to create an open-air courtyard and two separate buildings. A 1,300-square-foot store was carved from the larger structure, while the stockroom is housed in the 500-square-foot building. While Yamamoto lost considerable space by creating the courtyard, the spokeswoman said, "Yohji wanted the store to be an architectural piece, more than just about dollars and square footage. He said, 'I'm not going to sell in this way.'"

The store has exposed-brick walls and massive windows. Clothes hang on tall racks in the center of the room, each garment bathed in clean, bright light like a painting hanging on the wall. If a customer wants a different size, the salesperson must leave the store and cross the courtyard to get to the stockroom in the other building.

While there are only about 20 garments hanging in the store at any one time, the spokeswoman said, "We will do a quick turnaround and change the merchandise every week."

Three dressing rooms are made from circular pieces of suspended white fabric, à la a shower curtain, their amorphic shapes glowing within.

While the store is shaped like a triangle, the building's exterior lines are unexpectedly curved. It's another one of the contradictions Yamamoto loves, such as a shirt with one long side and one cropped side.The collection is themed around peace and the story of a solider who comes home from war. Doves are embroidered and appliquéd on garments and one jacket has an armband with the word espoir, which means "hope" in French. Crinoline skirts are a key element of the collection, with a black cotton number priced at $3,940. A high-waisted black skirt with laces in the back is $1,990, and a black Chinese-inspired asymmetrical blouse, $1,420.

But if the Yohji Yamamoto store makes few concessions to commerce, the 2,100-square-foot Y-3 shop makes no pretenses about the reason for its existence: selling product. Y-3 is a collaboration between Adidas and Yamamoto. The store, which has a mirrored video wall, is chock-full of merchandise — apparel for women and men, footwear and accessories — displayed in the conventional retail manner on racks and shelves along the walls.

The collection is filled with black pieces with color coming from green, blue, purple and orange garments. The apparel has a sport bent with some items bearing the Adidas stripes. A gold leather bomber jacket is $2,011; Modal T-shirts in green and purple, $210; a black sleeveless ruched tank, $225, and a black tuxedo coat with a sheer back panel, $598. Other items include a black leather bowling bag, $780; black boots with Lucite heels, $495, and black jeans with zipper pockets, $314.

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