For the design studio at Y’s — both of the brand’s lines, “Black” and “Pink,” are created by Yohji Yamamoto’s team — pre-collections are seen as laboratories where the designers can try out style innovations before they hit the main line. Some of them are bold (for pre-fall 2019, one of the main themes is Indian embroidery) while others are more subtle, like the introduction of a new hue (a soft royal blue) to the restrained color palette.
Ornate black embroideries of hands and eyes, representing two of the human senses, decorate both cotton shirts and wool separates of the Black line, snaking up a coat back or sitting above a jacket pocket. They were crafted by the Shanagar factory, based in Mumbai, India, known for its collaborations with Alaïa, Chloé, Lanvin and Yamamoto himself, and add a mystical touch to the pared-back Y’s silhouette.
Denim pieces are created using the patchwork-style “boro” technique, used at the end of the 19th century in Japan: instead of buying costly new clothes, pieces of cloth were sewn together thanks to the “sashiko” method, pinning the bits of fabric together. The grey patchwork jacquard lends an ancestral look to a knee-length coat with red inserts on the sleeves.
Indian inspirations can also be found in the second chapter of the pre-fall collection, the Pink line. In reference to the Yohji Yamamoto fall 2000 collection, which was inspired by the Arctic, long coats, jackets and skirts are crafted out of an intricate jacquard in paisley-like prints. More subdued, a light yellow silk shawl is added to a pale overcoat, its delicate oriental print nearly imperceptible to the untrained eye. The overall feel was poetic and marked a refreshing change from the label’s usual monochrome silhouettes.