An open love letter to Yohji Yamamoto
Although I am unable to offer any new groundbreaking insight into the creative processes of maestro Yohji Yamamoto, I just wanted to wax romantic about his influence on my own personal style and ambition towards fashion.
Seemingly more publicly open in interviews than other designers, Yamamoto always possesses the ability to make a room hush, whether in person or simply the room where one reads his words. Thoughtful before any utterance, Yamamoto sama’s words seem like prophetic soliloquies from a mischievous sage. In thought or engaged, Yamamoto sama posseses this sense of unknowing cool and nonchalant swagger, and yet, exudes humility and quiet reverence. Always seen in a button down shirt, relaxed trousers, boots and a droopy hat, his own casual style is unmistakable as is his sense of tailoring — solemn yet playful. This sense I think is best articulated by Meenal Mistry of Vogue when he commented on the opening of Yamamoto sama’s S/S’11 women’s runway collection was his signature “deconstructed Edwardiana in all black with a hint of ragamuffin.”
I can honestly say that his S/S’12 for Yohji Yamamoto Por Homme was one of the first visceral responses I had to clothing. It seemed like he had somehow encapsulated all of my own personal interests and college learned historicism about Japan and sent it down a Parisian runway.
It was quietly awe-inspiring.
The effortless draped pleating of his hakama trousers as they fluttered over sneakers or leather boots transported me to a modern ukiyoe print. A fisherman in denim, a rural farmer in thick linen, traveling to a nearby town to sell his harvest, donning his Yohji silhouette yukata. jacket…it ticked all of the boxes I needed. It made me want to be apart of the fashion community. Not just participating in the cyclical consumerism that fashion propels itself with, but actually assisting in the process somehow, from conception to execution and distribution. I want to help realize these wearable pieces of art.
Yamamoto’s devotion to the color black and all its permutations is monastic. Everything and nothing simultaneously, the dramatic color (or lack thereof) is interesting as it offers no distractions — Only interplay between black is important.
Each possesses its own hue and attitude, and sometimes it plays well with others, sometimes not. Therein lies the beauty of his magic. Different textures of black, even slightly cooler green or blue-hued shades blacks often work in tandem to offer depth, creating new texture and dimension through the artful use of shadows the garment creates both in motion and resting calmly against the body. The choice is always deliberate to continuously destroy and transform the wearer’s shape into something more interesting, maybe even more beautiful.
I thank you Yamamoto sama for everything. You may not know it, but you’ve given me more inspiring beauty than I could ever repay you for.
If you’ve ever been inspired or reviled by his creation, leave a note!