Trust Yohji Yamamoto to be at once wholly in step with the times yet unconcerned with anything as pedestrian as a trend.
Take the show itself. Outside, crash barriers had trouble containing the screaming pile of fans and photographers greeting the arrival and exit of Thai heartthrob actor Krit Amnuaydechkorn, also known as PP, and American rapper Tyga. None of that filtered inside, where the hubbub faded away as the audience fixated on the runway.
“There’s everything in there,” remarked a retailer after the show. And indeed, there was. The sensual unraveling of dresses, athleisure, the artisanal touch, a sense of gender fluidity, elevated sneakers — you name a trope going around the spring 2023 runways, there it was.
Not that he’d been angling for any of them. Always in a dialogue between past and present, the designer remarked that “in the 17th, 18th century, men pushed women [to wear] corsets…and very tiny shoes. Men wanted to treat women like a doll — I hated it.”
So he turned his anger onto the trappings of propriety, inciting women to stick it to those who’d hobble them by taking apart archetypal garments within an inch of their lives with the ease of a master tailor.
Out came corsets being peeled off the body, tailoring coming apart at the seams, layers becoming distinct and clearly visible. With his mostly black palette, skin became the other color or seemed to be figured by layers that had some of his early sketches and thoughts on the matter jotted around them.
A final group featured intricate corsets made of elements enmeshed into each other like a textile 3D jigsaw. Another point he mentioned backstage was about creating a connection between men and women once more. An equal footing was an implicit prerequisite.
But make no mistake — this was no rewriting of the past; it’s as always about where we should be going.
A dress, little more than straps holding a few squares of fabric on one side, had all the body baring going around the Paris but without a hint of confrontational or playful attitude. The Yamamoto woman just walks on by, serene and unconcerned by what onlookers may think. Talk about empowerment dialled up to 110.
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