A tower of neon strip lights was erected at the models’ exit, giving the runway an almost gallery-like glow, which was fitting as it seemed like Yohji Yamamoto had been feeling crafty. The invitation was wrapped in black hand-felted wool, and came in a crisp cotton envelope, more than a hint of what to expect.
The show opened with a section that was put together with hand-dyed lacing and crisp cotton and wool shirting and tailoring, deftly deconstructed and balanced on pleats, ruffs, and folds, sometimes barely held together and always on the verge of coming apart. Black ostrich feathers were pulled through the hair and slicked to the face, falling at the back into hair extensions that cascaded down the garments. The artisanal felting made its first appearance in a check motif, falling around the skirts in geometric cubes, before making way for puffer coats and coat dresses covered in spray paint.
There was a freedom to it all that felt daring, a tension in the paint applications that looked as if they had been applied just before the model hit the runway. We’re sure, however, they were meticulously planned and placed; Yamamoto is a master of illusion, after all. A surrealist touch came in the occasional layering of hats, our favorite being the triple-layer top hat which sat atop a sort of mad-hatter’s ball gown.
Every single look was predominantly black — until the final exit. The lights dimmed, and out came a playful two-tone creature in an entirely hand-felted wool outfit in turquoise and scarlet, with black furry shoes. It was a dreamlike moment, playful and unexpected. The lights went out, then flickered back to life and Yamamoto-san took a bow. Once again transporting us out of the conveyer belt that is fashion month and giving us a glimpse into his ever-fertile and fascinating imagination.