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Yohji Yamamoto Fights the System

The designer’s magic is his ability to do his black, punky, deconstructed thing again and again — always the same but always different. Today, it happened again.
By
  • Angelo Flaccavento

PARIS, France — Despite being well into his seventies, Yohji Yamamoto shows no sign of giving up a punky, pugnacious attitude, and all the better for it. A few pieces on the catwalk today spelt the words Naughty Yohji out loud, while backstage the master was as enigmatic and, well, naughty, as ever.

Yohji-san likes provocation, you know. “I am feeling tired, I am not happy with the way the system is going of late,” he said. “More and more I feel like an outsider, and I feel like I have to fight.” How not to agree? It must be hard for an author of such calibre to accept that today making beautiful dresses is the least important part of the whole process. One has to fight, indeed.

Apropos, the collection was titled ‘Partisan’ and was announced on the invitation by an old picture of a French woman defying the Nazis. The picture must have been seventy years old, but it actually looked like one of those iconic Yohji campaigns from the early Nineties. Yohji knows timelessness.

A partisan trait is part of the Yamamoto aesthetic: the visceral, heartfelt militarism, the cargo pockets, the feeling of old uniforms are always present. They went full-blown in this collection, with frog fastening galore on some gorgeous asymmetric-panelled coats. It was all mostly black and layered and deconstructed, of course, but the Yamamoto magic is to do it always the same but always different. It happened again.

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