Intelligent Life: On Yohji Yamamoto

I recently spoke to the Economist’s Intelligent Life Magazine about Yohji Yamamoto, who many of you will know is one of my favorite designers.

“Yohji will describe himself sometimes as a dressmaker, but I would say in many ways he is the last of the great couturiers. In the early 1980s, he and a whole cohort of Japanese designers – Kenzo, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo – came to Paris and really challenged what fashion was about. People just didn’t get what they were doing, deconstructing and re-thinking what clothes are. They moved fashion on from something that was about status and allure, to something more intellectual, more empowering and experimental. Yohji is the epitome of that.

Yohji Yamamoto Menswear

He’s been at the top of his game for all these years, and yet he is still able to surprise. He will take classic things – at tuxedo, a bomber jacket, a wedding dress – and turn them on their head. But he doesn’t force designs on the body, he works with it. His clothes are not really tight, though they will be fitted around the waist if he wants them to be, or fitted in the sleeve. He balances innovation with the fact that clothes need to have a relationship with the person wearing them. If you’re wearing Yohji, you’re not having to struggle to pull your skirt down, or sit in tight trousers. He doesn’t like stilettos or very high heels – it’s about freedom. That’s the thing I really like: it feels like you are empowered by his clothes, because yo’re not being restricted. And it doesn’t only apply to women. The film-maker Wim Wenders is a great Yohji fan: He says put his clothes on and they will feel like second skin.”

Read more in The Economist…

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