A physical runway show, in an indoor environment, is a rare thing these days, especially from a non-native designer. Yohji Yamamoto has been a fixture in Paris Fashion Week since the late seventies; his love for Paris and showing his collections here was immortalized by Wim Wenders in his 1989 documentary Notebook on Cities and Clothes. Despite the lack of international audience and international designers in the city, Yamamoto’s defiant collection walked on and felt strangely serene.
Opening with a two-tone cotton look replete with sliced and stitched oxfords, in true deconstructive fashion, followed by a parade of similarly executed dresses with feathers woven into the hair of the models. The looks were poetic, and calm washed over the audience — albeit masked — as if all thoughts of the pandemic disappeared for a moment.
Delicate silver metallic threads were topstitched onto minimal tailoring, wrapping around the models’ bodies, before mutating into hard metal wires that caused shoulders to hang suspended in the air and cap brims to float off. A brief moment of constriction with tonal bondage straps over the upper and lower arms came before the bang: petal-like shapes — wired and sculpted — splintered off the body like freeze-framed explosions. A crinoline cage in delicately twisted copper wire was left exposed, with couture-like attention to detail. Yamamoto stepped out in his black mask and took his now-legendary bow, doffing his hat, and all the oddness surrounding this season disappeared. We took a deep breath and applauded.