Yohji Yamamoto’s New Man

The invitation for Yohji was an accordion-pleat scribbled image that looked like a Christopher Wool painting with plenty to say, covered in provocative Yamamoto soundbites such as ‘Give me one more chance,’ ‘Don’t be body-shaming,’ and ‘Too old to die.’ It was suitably cryptic, and gave little away as to Yamamoto’s intentions.

The show opened on an unusually high note, with upbeat jazz playing and swathes of color. The backs of the leather jackets featured large portraits of mysterious girls staring back at us. As is often the case, there was no clear explanation, but due to the repetition of female portraits throughout the collection it was clear that Yamamoto had women on his mind.

Or perhaps it was more an interest in the current Japanese tendency towards androgynous dressing. The young men there often wear skirts as easily as a pair of jeans — without a self-conscious femininity, more a leveling of the sartorial playing field, and desire to explore new forms on the male body. This was particularly evident in the full-length sheath dresses that were just a touch too feminine in their fabrication to be Egyptian thobes, but still brought them to mind. They came in jewel tones with more striking female portraits that are sure to be a hit with press and devoted customers alike.

The loyal male Yamamoto customer was out in full force, with groups of head-to-toe super fans filling the sidewalk outside the show, all in current season painted pieces, and the most extravagant offerings possible. It is testament to the designer’s enduring careful evolution, and unfaltering dedication to his craft that they come back time and time again, and with this collection they are sure to continue to follow their leader.

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