Yohji Yamamoto, the maestro of avant-garde fashion, is set to celebrate his 80th birthday on October 3. With over four decades in the fashion industry, his passion for creating remains as strong as ever, evident in the recent showcase of his latest collection in Paris. The event displayed an experimental yet nuanced lineup that paid homage to iconic couturiers while still preserving Yamamoto’s distinctive style.
The Hôtel de Ville, with its ornate salons, hosted an audience ranging from institutional heavyweights to fellow non-conformists. Front-row guests included notable figures like Juergen Teller and Colm Dillane, while Laurence des Cars, director of the Louvre, Trudie Styler, Max Vadukul, and Guram Gvasalia graced the backstage, illustrating the reverence Yamamoto commands in the fashion world.
In a rare glimpse into his creative process, Yamamoto expressed his dislike for looking back at his own work. However, the collection showcased a willingness to revisit the timeless designs of iconic fashion houses like Chanel, Givenchy, and Balenciaga. Rather than a direct homage, he sought to reinterpret and remix their established design codes in his distinctive manner.
The runway began with restrained black silhouettes juxtaposed over white shirts featuring peaked shoulders. This led to more intricate combinations, showcasing light suiting swathed in delicate lace. The collection served as a reminder that fashion can feel original even when drawing inspiration from existing ideas.
A notable aspect was Yamamoto’s exploration of black, a departure from his previous ventures into color. Much like Pierre Soulages’ exploration of light and dark in his paintings, Yamamoto embraced the multifaceted dimensions of black. The ensembles featured layers of pleats and tucks, taking black into a realm of multi-dimensionality. Sheer fabrics and distinctive footwear added to the weightless shapes, emphasizing black’s connection with the female form.
The runway soundtrack, featuring a cover of The Beatles’s “Come Together,” aptly underlined Yamamoto’s message of iterating upon established sounds to create something original, mirroring his approach to fashion. The collection showcased the evolving nuances in Yamamoto’s work, revealing his tireless dedication to innovation.
While the casual observer might not perceive significant changes in Yamamoto’s designs over the years, a closer look reveals the subtleties and newness of his deconstructed silhouettes and relaxed reworkings of historical dress. The enigmatic nature of his designs prompts countless questions, highlighting Yamamoto’s perpetual drive for creative exploration. Despite the passage of time, Yamamoto continues to defy expectations, showcasing an unremitting dedication to his craft and an enduring passion for fashion.
Staged: Yohji Yamamoto team
Hair: Odile Gilbert
Make-up: Stéphane Marais
Music: Jiro Amimoto
Highlights from the Collection
Photos: Isidore Montag Gorunway/Vogue