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Yohji Yamamoto pour homme A/W21-22 Collection shot at the Aoyama Flagship store in Tokyo.

“A statement about today’s world.” According to the show notes, that’s the takeaway from Yohji Yamamoto’s fall men’s show, which was presented in a video format. Statements that might be described as rebel yells there were aplenty: Coats and suits were printed and embroidered with random, untethered phrases including “Amazing Grace” and more terrifyingly “Born a Terrorist,” that felt somewhat tired. In contrast, Yamamoto’s own voice—the designer sang to his compositions on most of the soundtrack—was confident and strong, revealing his rock and roll heart.

All that said, the best pieces in this lineup spoke for themselves. Draped pants with exaggerated Charlie Chaplin proportions were lyrical; great coats built around the body had an epic quality. The armor-like outerwear, muzzle-style masks, and metal-mesh gloves hinted at a medieval quest, one that intersected with the bravado strut of the jaded punks, dressed all in black and bondage that Yamamoto and his fans never tire of. If these rebels had a cause, it had less to do with the “issues” so fragmentarily spelled out on their clothes, than it did with broadening the spectrum of masculinity.

Shrouded in oversized, layered clothes and sporting Edward Scissorhands hair, the models seemed more fragile than ferocious. Two tailored looks featured corseting details that were softening despite their rows of metal hook-and-eye fastenings. Coats as stiff as neoprene had a subtle sparkle like that of the night sky. A shirt was printed with rose petals (or were they guitar picks?) and pants had a fluid motion.

The flaw of the video—that its cadence was interrupted by infomercially bits in which style numbers and fabric composition were shown—did serve to reveal that the designer had combined natural fibers with synthetic ones. The notes explained that this was “a souvenir of Yohji Yamamoto’s ’90s Homme design.”

This fall collection, we were told, is largely a reflection of the designer’s present-day observations of the streets and the world. However it arrives at a moment when “Old Yohji” is getting some retroactive love online, and Yamamoto is referencing his own oeuvre. Chronology is perhaps not the best framework for appreciating a designer known for his consistency. As my colleague Luke Leitch has noted, “Yamamoto doesn’t change but the world around him does.” In the best pieces in this collection, it is almost possible to feel the designer reaching through the shadows and guiding us through tempests to shelter.

by: Laird Borrelli-Persson for Vogue.

Photographed, filmed and directed by TAKAY
Hair by Takuya Takagi
Make-up by Yuka Hirac
Music by Jiro Amimoto


Highlights from the Collection

Photos courtesy of Yohji Yamamoto by TAKAY

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