The starting point for Yohji Yamamoto’s fall collection was “costumes, something to wear, [an] outfit with no front, no back,” the designer offered backstage.
Tailoring was strong — when is it not with him, really — and each look that piled on lapels, collars or belts that curved and twisted around the body was a reminder of what a master technician he is. It was apparent even in the most straightforward garments, like a romper layered with an unlined duster, fitted blazers with voluminous sleeves or sportier outerwear that you could imagine becoming the base for Y-3 Atelier hits.
But group after group, layers fell away, as if Yamamoto was stripping away these initial garments, revealing messages, garment structures and lining-weight fabrics. Lightweight dresses came last, some with rows of bejeweled motifs. By the last two dresses, only the barest notion of tailoring remained. They were unadorned, exquisite in their simplicity, and they could be worn back to front.
There were layers too in the meaning he’d infused into his fall collection. Amidst the black came touches of color. “If you felt some emotion, you’re right,” he said. Touches of red represented the pain he’d felt over personal losses in the last year.
This gave a new subtext to the looping bi-colored bands that seemed to weave in and out of the silhouettes, and to an embroidery depicting Yamamoto playing guitar, long red strands trailing down the model’s side.
What of the blue then? “If I use only blood [red], the audience would be bored,” he deadpanned, his trademark twinkle in the eye.
That and chains wrapped around the hand like knuckle-dusters felt like a reminder that no matter what, neither he nor the women he designs for are the kind to go down without a fight.