Cuckoo for Cocoons: Yohji Yamamoto Men’s Fall 2016

Yohji Yamamoto has been in fine form lately and seems to be reveling in laying himself bare. His collections get more and more personal each season, giving us a clearer insight into the notoriously discreet designer. His dark sense of humor has been prevalent on his men’s runway recently and this season was no different, with scrawled messages on the backs and fronts of T-shirts like Corporate Motherfuckers and Let Me Eat You. Though there were also moments of personal introspection, with one tee stating The Only Woman I Know My Mother.

Yamamoto was brought up by his mother, a war widow, and said of her in 2013, “My mother told me directly, ‘Yohji, you are the only reason I live.’ It was terrifying.” And he claims to have been “a victim of women.” Indeed people were wondering if the illustrations embroidered on the garments were of him and his infamous partner, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. They had a relationship that spanned from the 70s to the early 90s. This would make sense, especially given the reflective nature of his work of late.

The chaos of the collection was underscored by dialogue from the coming-of-age film Stand By Me, which tells the tale of four boys learning to stand up for themselves and the meaning of friendship. Yamamoto was telling the world and us that we need to stand up for ourselves and stick together. With an opening of six ultra-layered looks, replete with on-trend XXL tees pulled over puffer coats and puffer scarves tied tightly around the necks, this was soft protection against the elements and each other — perhaps also a comment on climate change as one had Help Me I’m Too Hot scrawled across it. His bondage strapping related as much to sexual awakening (with the young boys talking on the soundtrack) as it did to our own involuntary servitude to the Corporate Motherfuckers he was calling out.

Though the messages were dark and the feelings personal, Yamamoto came out smiling, and rightfully so, amongst said messages were a stellar selection of soft tailoring, outerwear and brilliant statement jersey that is sure to prove a success. As one tee said on the back, below a crudely drawn portrait of the man himself, Smiling Yohji.

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