A maverick genius keeps on his way to creative real clothing art from imperfect balance as most of designer in the fashion field are seeking for perfect works. He is Yohji Yamamoto, one of the most influential designers in the world. He disregards trends, he designs for life (AFP, 2011).Yohji Yamamoto is new headerof Japan tidal wave of fashion in the world;his two main lines Yohji Yamamoto and Y’s are stocked in high-end department stores worldwide. (BOF, 2016) Yohji Yamamoto founded Y’s joint stock corporation in 1972, showing for the first time in 1977 at Tokyo Fashion Week. The unique women’s ready-to-wear was appeared to world’s vision in his collection debut at Tokyo, two years later, the men’s line launched. By 1981, YohjiYamamoto was showing at Paris Fashion Week, his eponymous label line stared at the same year. (YohjiYamaoto Inc., n.d.) Once Yohji Yamamoto brought his anti-fashion works to challenge traditional notions of fashion, then he started to lead the fashion trend of the world until now.
In this report, mainly to explore the success story of Yohji Yamamoto from different aspects including designer’s background, analysis of constructed textiles within collection. At last, make a short conclusion about Yohji Yamamoto and his works.
Image 1-Yohji Yamamoto
(Source: Zimbio, 2008)
Yohji Yamamoto (image 1) was born in Japan in 1943, his mother was a tailor in Tokyo in his childhood. His design talent and interest was enlightened by the experience about he helped his mother make clothes go from door to door when he was 12. After he obtained law degree in 1966 fromKeio University in Tokyo, he won an opportunity to further his studies in Paris. Two years later after he finished his fashion design degree at Bunka Fashion College, he made a start of design career.
Yohji Yamamoto started his first collection named Y’s in Tokyo in 1972, and the brand’s ready-to-wear clothes for women were inspired from the oppressed women in the society during the Second World War. He wanted to make men’s clothes for women in order to protect them. “It meant something to me – the idea of a coat guarding and hiding a woman’s body. I wanted to protect the woman’s body from something – maybe from men’s eyes or a cold wind.” (Yamamoto, 2011) His original intention lays the foundation of his design style. Yamamoto wanted to hide women’s body by voluminous silhouette and exaggerated the space between the external garment and the body. His signature black pieces with exaggerated modeling stood in sharp contrast of emphasizing the beauty of women’s curves in Europe. Yamamoto’s oversized, unfinished and informally clothes has been a victim of controversy as much as fashion after his collection debut in Paris, but the influence of “Yohji Yamamoto” is hard to dispute.
Image 2 – Yohji Yamamoto SS10 Runway
(Source: Tinypic, 2010)
Except his first brand Y’s and his eponymous brand, Yamamoto’s other lines include Pour Homme, Costume d’Homme and the diffusion line Coming Soon.Yamamoto has also collaborated on pieces, collections and lines with a number of other brands, including Adidas (Y-3), Hermès, Mikimoto and Mandarina Duck; and with artists such as Tina Turner, Sir Elton John, Placebo, Takeshi Kitano, Pina Bausch and Heiner Müller. (BOF, 2016)
Image 3 – Yohji Yamamoto was showing his works
(Source: Tanuma, 1981)
- Analysis of textiles within collection
Yohji Yamamoto expresses his proposition and avant-guard spirit in his clothing, at the same time, Yamamoto shows deeply interest in textile of his work, he said “Fabric iseverything. Often I tell my pattern maker.” (Mondottica, 2016) The following analysis of constructed can help us explore how Yamamoto expresses his aesthetic claims by the using of fabric.
Image 4- Yellow strapless silk dress and oversized coolie hat covered with draped silk,S/S 1997
(Source: V&A Museum, 2011)
The above (image 4) yellow strapless silk dress and oversized coolie hat covered with draped silk are representative pieces of Yamamoto.He designing garments that seemed oversized, unfinished, played with ideas of gender or fabrics not normally used in fashionable attire such as felt or neoprene. (V&A, n.d.) This garment is made by single color silk to make this piece shiny and fluffy sense. It typically features drapesin glossy silk that naturally shapethe contours of figure. Itloose gathers and tatters of texture gives soft, wide and comfort feeling of image and it meets the Yamamoto’s appellative function of women’s clothes. The properly handled stack-up of cloth highlights the nature and tactility of fabric and the interactive space between the body and the cloth. Non-symmetrical appearance of skirt represents the unique essence of traditional Japanese fashion culture.
Yohji Yamamoto Menswear S/S2012
(Source: Dazed, 2011)
The color black was inundated with the early collection of Yamamoto, but in the S/S 2012 season collection, there were some other soft color appeared. “I think that my men’s clothing looks as good on women as my women’s clothing.” Said by Yamamoto. Ultra baggy trousers with loose white jersey shirts, mimicking and simultaneously appropriating a Western suit; this was soon followed by mismatched patterns, stripy pants worn with jackets composed of tiny heart patterns, a subtle game of patchwork, and kilt-like trousers – in fabrics ranging from to sporty jersey to raw cotton and thick linen. (Dazed, 2011) This collection continued the wide shape style of Yohji Yamamoto, raw cotton and thick linen with contracted cutting all delivered high suitability of clothes. Yamamoto believes that black is the modest and arrogant at the same time. (Yamamoto, 2000) But the use of different color brought diverse energy to his works and the color he used in this collection helped make the feeling of loosening the silhouette.
In conclusion, this report has provided a full exploration of the success story of Yohji Yamamoto. He is avant-garde and influentialartist in the recent four decades, he brought eastern fashion culture enter the western fashion style, he let people feel old and new at the same time, he makes irregularity design looks balance. Yamamoto’s work is an extraordinary tension that occurs in the East between the simple and the sophisticated, between natural materials and technological advance, between the empire of the senses and the tempered discretion of the feelings.(English, 2011) The artwork of Yohji Yamamoto reflects meditation on life, mutual integration and penetration between eastern and western culture. Yamamoto’s brand allegation of imperfect and irregular has became unique fashion wave in the modern fashion industry, in the hope to see the even better and amazing artworks, Yamamoto should bring boundless possibilities to create by challenging the both his own and culture traditions.
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DAZED. (2011). Yohji Yamamoto Menswear S/S12, After his show in Paris, we speak to the man behind the new collection of composed contrasts in thick linens, jersey shirts and wide pants. [online] Available at:<http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/10717/1/yohji-yamamoto-menswear-s-s12>[Accessed 23 Oct. 2016].
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The Talks. (2011). Yohji Yamamoto: “People have started wasting fashion. [online] Available at:<http://the-talks.com/interview/yohji-yamamoto/>[Accessed 24Oct. 2016].