Yamamoto

Yohji (1943). Japanese designer born in Tokyo. From the beginning his fashion has been characterized not only by inspiration and creativity, but also by intelligence and discipline. He started off in women’s ready-to-wear with his Y’s label in 1972 after studying at the University of Keio and gaining a diploma from the Bunka Gakuen Institute fashion course. He displayed his designs in Tokyo in 1977, and four years later left the Japanese capital which he sees as “dominated by the common sense of a boring bourgeoisie.” He decided to make a start in Paris, where he arrived, with Rei Kawakubo of Comme des GarĀµons, with the declared intention of revolutionizing the rules of Western fashion. His Collection shocked fashion insiders, and the trade press referred to it as “post-atomic fashion”: the clothes, made with indiscriminate cuts and big rips, brought to mind the threat of atomic war. In 1983, also on the Paris runways and still working with Kawakubo, his refined Pauperism Collection caught the media’s attention for its lyricism, but above all it signaled the start of the influence of Eastern aesthetics on European fashion. His deconstructivism was the starting point for the new generation of fashion designers who, from the mid-1980s, rewrote the canons of European fashion. His research into fabrics (he mixes technological fibers with natural materials so that they look worn-in) led him to experiment with a highly innovative formal purism that earned him the title of “master” from his colleagues. In 1997, paying homage to the tradition of Dior and Chanel, he showed a Collection that borrowed from the past without looking dated. Whilst still showing his women’s and men’s Collections in Paris, he worked in a building-atelier in the center of Tokyo helped by his mother, who had been a dressmaker and his first teacher. He has over 300 employees. In 1989 the film director Wim Wenders documented his work in the film Notebook on Cities and Clothes. In 1996 he took part in the Florence Biennale Il tempo e la moda (Time and Fashion), contributing to the exhibition New Persona e New Universe. In an interview for Elle in 1999 he said: “Style is the art of mixing, of showing off and governing aesthetically the things you love. As for myself, I like to pair designer chic with things I find at the flea market. Choice is our ultimate freedom. Wearing certain designers’ clothes is like changing your life. When somebody tells me: ‘Yohji, I’d love to wear your clothes,’ I reply ‘Be careful, do not be so sure of yourself. It’s not that simple.'”
&Quad;1998. As part of the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Yamamoto was asked to design the set for the meeting between several karate masters and the company’s dancers.
&Quad;2001, Fall. A wedding dress by Yamamoto was featured in the Radical Fashion exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, where 50 dresses by nine of the most eccentric and exuberant designers were displayed.
&Quad;2002, July. Yamamoto was appointed creative director of Adidas Sport Style. The line, previously called Equipment, specializes in sport fashion; the Collection consists of 50 men’s items, as many again for women, and a line of accessories. Before taking up the position, the Japanese designer worked with Adidas Originals for three seasons: the shoes he designed became best sellers, notching up an estimated 500 million euros in sales. He increased his work with Adidas, creating a ready-to-wear line called Y3, which was completed in October 2002 and presented at Pitti Uomo the following January.
&Quad;2003, Spring. The launch of a range of clothing designed by Yamamoto in about 290 outlets of the Japanese chain Muji.
&Quad;2003, July. Yamamoto decided to show his Spring-Summer 2003 ready-to-wear Collection in July rather than October, ideally bringing it closer to haute couture, which traditionally shows in that period. His decision was motivated by a desire to keep his distance from the overcrowding during the ready-to-wear fashion week.