YOHJI UNPLUGGED: “An Evening with Yohji Yamamoto” at Soho House Berlin, the second installment in the four-part Yohji-thon during Berlin Gallery Weekend, provided another intriguing view of the Japanese designer and his work. Yamamoto bared a great deal in conversation with i-D’s Terry Jones and architectural designer Asif Khan. Among the tidbits Yamamoto served up Friday night:

On how he developed his personal taste: “I’m a big victim of women. I have been controlled by femme fatales for more than 60 years. And even now.”

On the difference between taste and fashion:
“I hate fashion. Or the word fashion, which sounds colorful, extravagant, expensive and gorgeous.…I never wanted to walk the main street of fashion. I have been walking the sidewalks of fashion from the beginning, so I’m a bit dark.”

This story first appeared in the April 30, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On explaining his style: “I have no style as Mr. Yohji Yamamoto. I’m working each season against something, always antisomething though I can’t remember it all. Mainly I design clothing as an antitrend, antifashion [so] naturally I’m spending my life in a big paradox….I don’t really trust my point of view always, and sometimes rebel against myself too. I only like it when my work surprises myself. I don’t feel my work has a style. It’s more about the approach I take. It has to make me happy somehow, even though it makes me sad a lot.”

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On the real/young Yohji: “I’m from the typical story of WWII, the only son of a WWII war widow. I had no idea of the meaning of family. We were just the two [of us], and she was missing her husband of whom I had no memory. She was expecting two men from me and I feel I’ve been carrying big luggage on my shoulders since I was five years old. Sometimes my mother told me directly ‘Yohji, you are the only reason I live.’ It was terrifying.”

On his clothes always seeming to protect the woman: “I told you already, I’m a victim of women. I naturally love women but at the same time, I hate. I want revenge in some way. The reason I could continue to work till now is revenging.”

On whether women are better clothed or unclothed: “Better clothed. As much as possible!”

On the greatest lesson learned from his mother so far: A long silence…“She was too busy to educate me, she just worked and worked. One day when I was a primary school student, I stole something from a shop. I found a very charming new eraser. The color was sort of pink and pale green. It looked delicious, and I ate it. And then I found out it was an eraser. I know I’d done a wrong, bad thing. One of my ex-ex-ex brothers [friends] told the story to my mother. My mother fell to the floor and started crying. She rolled around and around on the tatami mat, and I felt very sexy. So — I found out my mother is a woman. It was a big education.”