The Color in the Night: Yohji Yamamoto Paris Menswear Collection Autumn/Winter 2014-15
During the 1980s, the Japanese economy grew at an unparalleled, seemingly unstoppable pace. In a country awash in material wealth there was a simultaneous creative boom across a variety of disciplines, and one of the most clearly affected was the fashion industry. During this period, Tokyo in particular became one of the undisputed fashion and style capitals of the world, and also saw the birth of several design houses which are still amongst the most directional and fashion forward in the contemporary era, and principal among these is Yohji Yamamoto.
Yamamoto showed his first collection in Tokyo in 1977, followed by his debut collection in Paris in 1981, and since the very beginning has constructed a unique silhouette characterized by oversized and draping elements in a variety of textiles, while reflecting a strongly Japanese aesthetic. With his Paris menswear collection for Autumn/Winter 2014-15, Yamamoto made another vital, maximalist entry into his ever evolving canon.
Talking about the collection, Yamamoto addressed his recent thoughts on the temporal nature of life and how this collection was a visual response to that. Far from a glum or gothic reflection on mortality, this was a visceral energetic explosion of color and print. Speaking to Fashion One about the unusual amount of color on the catwalk revealed a simple and direct reason, he said, “I just simply wanted to prove Yohji can use color, because I am questioned all the time, ‘Why black?’” Prove it he did—with overlapping layers mixed hypnotic fashion. Prints were a disparate combination of elements: patterns of floral tapestry and camouflage collided with a mutated tattoo aesthetic of snakes and chains. Recurring visual motifs on mortality were constantly present with skulls on jackets, shirts and pants.
Silhouettes were pure Yohji Yamamoto, with the fine detailing that is a hallmark of the designer’s work. Clothes were worn layered, yet inner zips on jumpers were worn undone to reconfigure the silhouettes. As always with this designer, the density of styling and layering made it hard to absorb in one viewing, but for the dedicated viewer this is a collection that combines the power of Yamamoto’s cutting and silhouettes with a bold illustrative approach. The collection demonstrates the designer’s ability to evolve his world and transcend his “why black?” detractors.