I remember the first time I was up close and personal with Yohji Yamamoto’s couture gowns at gallery 38 of the V&A museum. It was for his self-titled exhibit that I spent a day there, to take in his creations and analyse his techniques.
With over 80 designs on display for viewing, what was exciting about his exhibit is that all of his designs were on ground level with us, displayed without boundaries of glass or barriers, so that one can stand right next to his creations and get a 360 view of his couture. Yohji also ensures menswear was a significant part of his display, as many other designers tend to favour womenswear for the appeal and masses that it brings in. It was a welcomed change for me having an in depth look at Yohji’s quirky menswear designs. His use of plaid and thick chunky fabrics such as wool, felt and neoprene struck a balance between practicality and fashion, making his designs wearable while stylish.
‘When I started a men’s line in Paris, my message was very simple: let’s be outside of this.
Let’s be far from our suits and ties. Let’s be far from businessmen.
Let’s be vagabonds.’ – Yohji Yamamoto
Yohji’s womenswear designs are simple to look at, but when you really look at them in detail, up-close, each layer, the contrasting fabrics and complimetary colours, then you see his designs can become quite complicated. There was a red layered gown that to me, looked unfinished at the edges, bt when you step back, it only adds to the uniqueness of the dress as the rawness of the linings gave the simple dress a bit of edge. Theses unfinished edges were not hidden under layers of the dresses either, as it seems to be a signature statement of Yohji.
‘I like the curve of a woman’s back.
I always watch her silhouette in the streets.’ – Yohji Yamamoto
I did notice that Yohji used mainly one colour for each dress (his red and yellow dress were so beautiful!), yet his menswear purposely clashes colours and fabrics. His womenwear I would say is elegant, while his menswear is for those brave men out there that are so confident in their look and style that they can wear anything be comfortable. My favourite dress in the exhibition was Yohji’s yellow strapless silk dress and oversized coolie hat covered with draped silk from his Spring/Summer 1997 collection.
I must say, this exhibition of Yohji’s most popular items from his previous collections was the inspiration for my love of fashion exhibitions and his encouraged me to continue to explore other designers on par with the skill that Yohji demonstrates in his works. You can check out Yohji’s latest collections here.