Recently, Yohji Yamamoto has been uncharacteristically talkative. And today was no exception, as he waited backstage to greet people, and discuss (albeit cryptically) the show. He spoke of things being “under construction” and, reading between the lines, how people shouldn’t be afraid to wear one piece of fabric like the ancient Greeks. It brought to mind his famous quote: “I think perfection is ugly…I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion.”
Disorder was certainly there tonight, as the show started in complete darkness, with no music, while people were still taking their seats. Photographers screamed for lights, and the audience hushed the people who hadn’t realized it had begun. In this simple moment, Yohji silenced the room. It was poetry in motion and, as it developed, one of his most powerful shows to date. Jackets were tailored through the body but de-structured in the back, with kimono-shaped sleeves. Whole outfits were seemingly made from one single piece of exquisitely draped fabric, much like those Grecian predecessors he talked about backstage. The color palette was for the most part monochromatic black, with flashes of deep greens and plums. Then, of course, there were the huge ballgowns, distorted into forms evoking broken umbrellas or fallen parachutes wrapped around fence posts, wearing their scars proudly.
The performance was soundtracked by a minimal piano, reminiscent of Morton Feldman, with chords that played out to their final hum. The hisses of the spotlights seemed to brighten throughout the show, searing the dark silhouettes onto our retinas. It was a fitting end to a mammoth show day, recalling Yamamoto’s own words from a 2004 interview: “Sit down, calm down, you are turning in a carousel that moves too fast. Fashion has lost respect of clothing. My job is to regain the respect for clothing.”