PARIS, France — Something was different at the Yohji Yamamoto show on Thursday. The usual venue on rue Saint Martin looked bright, instead of dimly lit, thanks to a grid of neons put above the runway. A very sharp, graphic prop made the space look bigger. The clothes on the catwalk were big and graphic too.
This time, however, Yamamoto's trademark volumes were more firm than fluid. The Japanese master's knack for poignant deconstruction became architectural reconstruction, as his posse of poète maudits took a militaristic turn. The whole haute uniforme repertoire was given a Yohji makeover: in black, or almost blacks, avoiding anything costume-y.
There were gold buttons and cutaways; frock coats and high necklines; and cropped trousers akin to plus fours. As for the rest, it was all typically Yohji, and not just because black reigned from start to finish. The fact is that Mr Yamamoto owns a definite masculine character, at once cocky and romantic.
This season, the cockiness was turned down in favour of a certain softness of attitude. The romantic outlaw was a little less renegade. Or maybe he wasn't. That's the charm of Yamamoto: everything changes as nothing changes. All you are allowed to do is to savor the black and the formal inventiveness. It's a joy.