It’s very hard for me not to gush over every single Yohji Yamamoto collection that passes in front of my eyes. I was talking to Samuel about what I find so appealing about his designs – we didn’t come to any concrete conclusions, but we did have a lovely long chat about Japanese fashion!
I will say that a large part of the appeal of Mr Yamamoto’s work is the inherent Japaneseness that comes through. Despite living in Paris, there’s still a quality to the clothing, that almost indefinable little touch, that makes Japanese fashion both classic and contemporary so appealing to me (and hopefully you too). Sometimes I think it’s the completeness of an outfit or style; all the details are there, the ball hasn’t been dropped on make-up or shoes or accessories, it’s a single coherent look – alas, something that eludes me most mornings! I really loved both the put-togetherness and the simplicity of this collection for spring summer 2012, most of my favourite catwalk coordinations were white shirts with black trousers, and even when patterns were used, it was lightly and complimentary. The hakama-style trousers were the perfect blend between Yamamoto’s Japanese roots and the short and wide trousers that were shown by other designers, and it’s this fusion of old and new that Yohji Yamamoto captures so elegantly.
I’d also like to point out the variety of models that have been used on the catwalk by Yohji Yamamoto – old guys, skinny guys, fat guys – I love it. I know the ‘body image in fashion’ talk has been done a million billion times, but I think it’s worth pointing out here as male modelling doesn’t often come under the scrutiny as with female modelling.
If I’m being quite honest, many are the mornings when I stand in front of the wardrobe, facing all those lovely clothes, thinking to myself “oh dear, I’ve got nothing to wear” (which is frankly ridiculous as Samuel and I share clothes quite often – double the wardrobe!) and yes, sometimes spending all day looking at models for this site and our other projects does make me question my own self-worth in terms of attractiveness. I do frequently find it hard to be a Western woman in Tokyo; I’m taller and a touch chunkier than the vast majority of Japanese girls, and I’m not a teenager any more. If I’m having a bad hair day, it’s made a million times worse by seemingly everyone else having utterly perfect hair! Samuel does his best to reassure me when I’m fretting, but being something of a stunner himself it’s easier said than done.
So, I’d like to give Saint Yohji a metaphorical high-five (a physical one would be even better, but then I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to wash that hand ever again, a la that Simpsons episode, you know what I’m talking about?) for a) representing the larger older gentlemen and b) making clothes that actually look good on a variety of bodies, not just skinny white guys.
“To be modern is to tear the soul out of every thing.”
“My role in all of this is very simple. I make clothing like armor. My clothing protects you from unwelcome eyes.”
“Fashion sighs after trends. I want timeless elegance.“
“Fashion […] It is more about helping women to suffer less, to attain more freedom and independence.”
“I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion.“
– So says Yohji himself.