NEW YORK — Yohji Yamamoto typically doesn't make it to New York more than two or three times a decade, but he certainly has an opinion about it.
Sitting in the spacious, high-tech Y-3 showroom and offices adjacent to the Adidas store on Broadway on Tuesday, Yamamoto said he doesn't like the city's fast pace, but on its flip side, "I like this city because people look dynamic and always change, and there is still this nostalgic scenery, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Empire State Building."
Yamamoto didn't have much time to enjoy the scenery. He arrived on Monday to put the final touches on the Y-3 presentation, which was presented Tuesday night, then left again on Wednesday. But the whirlwind trip renewed an appetite for the city.
"I was thinking I should come back to New York more often and I'd like to stay at least two weeks every year," he said. "Then I can see the changes and find inspiration for my designs."
New Yorkers can certainly expect to find him here twice a year. In a shift of strategy, Y-3's parent, Adidas, decided to move its show from Paris, where it launched the collection in 2001.
"We thought when we work for a sport line, we have to come to America, because the sport movement started here," Yamamoto said. "Twenty to 25 years ago, I remember Americans started becoming more interested in their bodies. They started to take care of their bodies, and the body culture started here."
Just as the move was favored by Yamamoto for creative reasons, it was steered by Adidas executives for business reasons. Since its launch, Y-3 has been somewhat misunderstood by many U.S. retailers who found the concept of a fashion line with activewear origins difficult to place. Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue carried Y-3 in its early stages, but don't offer it any longer. It is now distributed in about 60 American doors, including Jeffrey New York, Alan Bilzerian in Boston, Maxfield in West Hollywood and the Yohji Yamamoto boutique here.
A retail executive noted that deliveries were always a key issue with Y-3. Stores that considered it a contemporary activewear collection were struggling to work with Y-3's delivery cycles, which were in line with designer sportswear collections. "That made it very difficult for the collection to compete with Nike and Puma," the executive said.
"I think that all anyone really wants in life is to have people understand us for who we actually are, despite everything," says Ruth Negga. The actress talks "Preachers" season 2 and more on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: Dan Doperalski)
"That's something that resonates with me too because I'm so locked into a number. If I go over that number it completely ruins my day so it's nice to get detached from the number on the scale." - Chelsea Handler on Kelly LeVeque's book "Body Love." #wwdeye (📷: John Salangsang)