Yohji Yamamoto’s spring 2019 collection was given a name, which is a rare thing in the world of Yamamoto; he called it Love Song. The invitation came packaged in a 33” record sleeve (though sadly no record), an allusion to the title itself and to Yamamoto’s own increasing love affair with music. For some time now he has soundtracked his own shows, with his electric guitar playing, and singing. This time was no different, though he didn’t voice it himself — a female singer sang in both English and Japanese.
The collection was a love song to the female body, and was the sexiest we’ve seen from him in quite some time. The tailoring that opened the show was worn over bare chests, some cropped to reveal midriff and back, with peepholes literally cut into the garments. The summer coating had huge soft holes in the sides that revealed either skintight semi-sheer bodysuits or simply naked flesh. A number of garments were held together with zipped seams that could be undone to remove part are all of the garment, leaving the body completely visible.
The voice singing was hard to understand until she reached a crescendo — repeating “you’re so beautiful” over and over — at the precise moment that there was a lot of visible skin on the runway.
Just after this, a brief section of explosive cloud like sculptural forms arrived, distorting the previously celebrated body, first in pure white and then in hand-painted khaki and black. It was hard to understand exactly what was being implied with this sudden burst of violent painterly color and voluminous drapery, but it soon calmed down, and the same five black models that opened the show in bare-chested tailoring closed it. This time they had their hair covered, in head wraps, and they wore more casual tops and long skirts, falling into formation at the end of the runway and holding a long pose, before marching back together in unison. It was a celebration of natural feminine beauty, unlike any other, showing the many facets of the body and its seductive power. A love song indeed.