There’s always something a little hard to swallow in the whole art vs fashion debate. Fashion is an unashamed business (more and more as it goes faster and faster — until the wheels fall off) and art is always quick to veil its market associations in cerebral discourse. It comes across as trite in most circumstances when the two meet, but not in the assured hands of Yohji Yamamoto, who unabashedly walks his own path, slowly putting the art back into fashion.
His models this season were literal canvases, daubed with brush strokes and dried-out painted hair, with the clothes themselves given the pedestal they deserved. The collections are becoming more and more self-referential and pensive, usually soundtracked by Yamamoto’s own accomplished guitar playing, this time strumming Looking Out the Window Thinking Why?
And we too were asking why, except that’s exactly the point: there is no why, as the garments speak for themselves. The backstory is Yamamoto himself, and his extraordinary legacy. Here, the slowness, and the lack of tricks and gimmicks let Yamamoto’s designs reveal themselves. A new sensuality is emerging in his woman, wrapped in black bandage tapes, and mesh with the customary black revealing plentiful décolletage. Masterful soft tailoring and the illusion of total simplicity, hide incredibly complex sartorial statements.
The finale saw a gang of six models in twisted and draped jersey saunter out, stop along the runway, and stare at the audience for a moment, before walking off. This was like Yamamoto himself defying the audience in silent opposition, daring us to ask why? And indeed, in the wonderful world he continues to create, the real question is: why not?