PARIS, France — Yohji Yamamoto is feeling lonesome of late. "I am losing all my competitors you know , " he said backstage, voice trembling, spirit positive. He materialised that feeling on the catwalk mid-show, with a draped black dress that featured a hand — yes, a hand, surreal touch — on the neckline, with the proverbial middle finger put up in the air.The man is a punk in spirit, and all the better for it. That was a high note in a wonderful show that was the nth iteration of Yohji-ism. Picture black, black, and more black, and then dresses that looked like pieces of them were peeling off, or featured impromptu draping, gathered volumes, monastic lengths. A few outfits were painted with gestural, expressive brushstrokes, looking like an artist's canvas turned into a wearable piece. Other were run by blanket stitches.That's the magic of Yohji: his shows somehow always look the same, yet they never are. This season, for instance, there was quite a lot of energy to the whole collection, as the sea of black conveyed a positive,vitalfeeling. Black is a whole range of feelings and possibilities, and Yamamoto has a lifetime of work to testifyto it. As the fashionable old world crumbles under the blows of the hype-inclined, cynical new generation, that middle finger matters. It means: "I am alive and kicking! Shut up you morons." Heroic, much-needed Yohji.