“I wanted to fight with the 19th century,” Yohji Yamamoto said backstage of his latest collection, an exploration of historical corsets, bustles and petticoats contemporized to near abstraction like only Yohji-san can do.
In nearly all black (quelle surprise!), the designer presented some truly fabulous takes on romantic tailoring using off-center lacing on the back or single sleeve of a coat, ruffles and pleats spilling from collars, cuffs and pockets of a jacket, and black tulle trailing from the back of a pleated corset dress gone rogue. It was all part of a gentle dance between masculine and feminine.
Other looks played with volume, with pulley systems shaping layered petticoats. Bustles and panniers peeked out from beneath coats, including puffer versions tagged with graffiti in a punk gesture. The pace of the show was pleasingly slow, so looks could be admired from all sides, which they deserved to be.
It was an ode to the classics, including his own from the Eighties, he said. But it felt on point for now. Long coat dresses in particular, had resonance in this season of so much statement outerwear. Yamamoto’s subverting of traditional codes of femininity into something avant-garde was refreshing, even if it was familiar, in a season when feminist sets and boudoir themes have been stand-ins for true conceptual rethinking about clothing and power. This was a way for women to reclaim the once restrictive, or merely ornamental, in fashion and truly make it her own — with attitude.