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Yohji Yamamoto to Direct First Feature Film

The designer spoke about his new venture during a discussion on fashion and cinema with French director Christophe Honoré at the Hyères Festival.

HYERES, France — Yohji Yamamoto is working on his first feature film.

This story first appeared in the May 1, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The designer spoke of this and other new ventures during a discussion on fashion and cinema with French director Christophe Honoré at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography.

“I’ll do music. I’ll do painting. Then, finally, I’ll do film,” Yamamoto told WWD when asked what future projects he was working on.

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He will don the director’s cap for the movie, which he said is not based on himself. Yamamoto has commissioned somebody to write the script and expects to have the film wrapped up in two years at the earliest. “It’s very secret,” he said.

During the discussion, the designer, whose creations have featured in a handful of films, including the Takeshi Kitano-helmed “Dolls,” told the audience that he does not like creating clothes for the cinema.

“I don’t want to kill the characters of the actors and actresses with my ego,” said Yamamoto, for whom fashion and costume design are distinct professions. “[Costume designers] have to know which fashions and which trends were running at which time, so their knowledge of past clothing is sometimes better than ours.”

But he still finds the work of certain costume designers hard on the eyes. “Have you ever experienced after starting to watch a movie that because of the ugly costumes, you cannot keep on watching? Have you ever experienced that? I have a lot. So in that respect costume [design] is very important,” said Yamamoto.

The designer also mentioned director Wim Wenders, whom he sees as a brother, describing the personal struggle he went through when Wenders asked him to design 500 costumes for his film “Until the End of the World” in the early Nineties. “From the beginning I was tired.…I had to create everything, even very normal jackets and suits to try to make it not look too much Yohji Yamamoto, I really suffered from the beginning,” he said. “It was a moment when [Wenders] had made a big hit, ‘Wings of Desire,’ and many sponsors wanted to pay for his new movie, so he was very rich and he could ask me to make 500 outfits.

“He came to Tokyo one day.…He asked me to pick him up from his hotel and while we were driving along in the car he started talking to me. ‘Yohji, maybe you sometimes have a job and [you realize] that this is a mistake, but you have to finish it’.…I was driving and was, like, ‘Oh yes, I do,’” smiled the designer, before pausing to add, “Sometimes rich movies make mistakes.”