Yohji Yamamoto, master of deconstruction
today Oct 2, 2017
The silhouettes advance slowly amidst the raw architecture of the Cité de la mode, hats split in two, presenting two completely distinct profiles to spectators. Yohji Yamamoto confides backstage that he has been haunted throughout his career by the idea of a man composed of two different halves, like in Italo Calvino's The Cloven Viscount. "People are never symmetrical", he says. This theme of asymmetry and imperfection – which ends up creating a new idea of perfection – dominated his Spring/Summer 2018 women's collection, presented in Paris on Friday night.
The long black ensembles which reached down to the models' feet were cut up, split and reassembled. The clothes gaped open on arms and legs. Pieces of fabric were cut, recomposed, artfully knotted, assembled and sculpted around the models' bodies, while also leaving their movement free. Everything was extremely comfortable.
With many entirely black looks, some white ensembles and bright red flashes; fluid and loose pieces (coats, jackets and trousers); and games of deconstruction and overlapping fabrics, characterized by the collage of different materials (fabrics in cotton, linen, mesh); the Japanese designer has, more than ever, remained faithful to the codes of his brand.
His point of departure was the trouser, which he decomposed into wide flaps, then recomposed. Coupled with a straight maxi skirt, the same pair of trousers gave the overall look a particular sense of motion, as though the fabric were wet and sticking to the model's legs.
Trousers were also reassembled through buttoning. These were the same large buttons, shifting from black to white, then red, that could also be found on the back of a coat, creating further volume through drapery where they were fastened irregularly in their buttonholes.
Elsewhere, an extra fine mesh fitted tightly over a cotton dress of the same colour, the fabric of which seemed to be escaping through slits, swelling out like blisters or growths, appearing here and there, suggesting a pouch or a rabbit tail!
Another highlight of the show was the way in which the clothes accented the models' backs, "the most beautiful part of a woman's body", according to Yohji Yamamoto. Backs, marked by a red label, were exposed in a long black dress cut down the middle by a zip open to the waist, or in a frock coat with a puffed train.
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