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There were spillover crowds at tonight’s Yohji Yamamoto show. Maybe it’s because Yohji is in the air again, with younger designers reexamining his 1990s oeuvre. Maybe it’s because Yamamoto turns 79 next week and there are questions about retirement and succession. The designer emerged for his bow as spry as ever, so perhaps such talk is premature. Giorgio Armani has 10 years on Yamamoto, and Ralph Lauren has five, and they’re both still working.

And yet the music at Yamamoto’s show, at least the songs I could recognize, were a reminder of time’s passing. Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” and CSNY’s “Four Dead in Ohio” are 50 and 51 years old respectively. It was Yamamoto’s voice on the soundtrack, and most of the songs he sang were in his native Japanese.

The show was a meditation on Yohji-isms, presented slowly and with care. You could almost feel the collective exhalation as the crowd relaxed into its placid rhythm. Yamamoto does not design for the social media moment; he’s not concerned with going viral. He’s a designer who’s inward-focused, measuring collections only against his own four-decade body of work. It started with tailoring, as his shows tend to do. This season’s jackets have folds and flaps like intricate origami patterns, with portrait collars, narrowed waists, and flared or peplum hems. Here and there a flash of white turned up, usually on the underside of an asymmetrically draped and ruffled shirt. The collection’s prints, when they eventually materialized, were abstract and painterly in earthy colors, or else they reproduced Japanese calligraphy.

More often than not, Yamamoto stuck with his tried-and-true black, creating visual interest with elaborate, oblique strapping or baroque cut-outs. A pair of hourglass silhouettes with lace elements and layered skirts were delicate standouts. Time passes, but Yamamoto’s graceful lines spring eternal.

by: Nicole Phelps for Vogue.

Produced by Yohji Yamamoto team
Scenography and lighting by Masao Nihei
Music by Jiro Amimoto
Hair styling by Eugene Souleiman
Make-up by Isamaya French


Highlights from the Collection

Photos courtesy of Yohji Yamamoto by TAKAY

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