Printer Friendly at Yohji Yamamoto

A Yohji Yamamoto show comes with certain expectations and, in the same breath, certain unknowns. We know that he is the undisputed king of all things black, and that his garments are poetry in motion, but something he doesn’t usually get credit for is his astute eye, and hand, for print.

The dedicated fans at his shows mine the Yamamoto aesthetic as best they can, and as he quietly produces more print-heavy work, they wear it like a badge of honor. From full-length photo print coats to seemingly hand-painted one-offs, to them it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that he is hitting a nerve and they are loving it.

This season was no different. The invitation featured a halftone print of clasped hands that later appeared on a coat, in an unexpected side placement. Because, and this is something else that Yamamoto has pioneered but is largely uncredited for, the unexpected print placement. It may sound minor, but for a designer so conscientious of each individual stitch in a garment, we should equally scrutinize his decision to move a print to an unexpected place. Of course, a side print, partially obscured by an arm, also influences the form of the wearer’s body, and this was exemplified with white circular patches in later looks.

An intriguing turn came in the last exits, which featured heraldic shields and symbols in what looked like discharge prints on velvet, linking back to the square-cut fringing on the earlier zipped jacket tails that seemed to evoke medieval tabards. A perfect analogy for the sartorial knights of Yamamoto who wear their vestments with pride.