With all the vibrant color saturating the European men’s runways, it’s good to know that someone will always stand apart. And that someone — more often than not — is Yohji Yamamoto.
Due to pandemic-related travel concerns, Yamamoto didn’t come to Paris this season. Instead, he filmed a runway show in front of a live audience at the brand’s Aoyama flagship store in Tokyo, and it was shown as part of the Paris men’s schedule.
The show featured a multigenerational cast that included five Japanese actors. They sauntered down the runway dressed mostly in black and white, and got so close to the camera their noses nearly pressed against the lens. For those who were watching it on screen, it was an intimate experience, and almost as good as being there.
Yamamoto is great at conjuring a mood, and this time it was the early 19th-century gent — a young Charles Dickens or Gustave Flaubert — with the wild hair, and gaze, of Edward Scissorhands.
Models wore black frock coats, waistcoats and baggy trousers, and accessorized with exaggerated, knotted cravats, brooches, crucifixes or ragged-edged scarves. Some wore sunglasses with a groovy ’60s feel. The hair was wild: sculpted and sticking in a million directions, or black and long and sprayed with gray paint.
Midway through the show, the gloomy-chic gave way to a burst of white, in the form of billowy tuxedo shirts with loose, flapping pleats and a lineup of languid duffle coats that looked as if a layer of pale dust had settled on them.
Other coats featured prints based on artwork by the Polish painter Zdzislaw Beksinski. They were smudged with shades of green, gray or rust — like an artist’s palette — while long, silky shirts featured skeleton bones, in keeping with the Victorian vibe of this cool, cultural brew of a collection.