Yohji Yamamoto, through time and space

Yohji Yamamoto’s spring-summer 2023 collections for men and women combine historicism, quirky corsetry, the art of construction and words written directly on the fabric, like subtly expressed thoughts. Make-up: Byredo. Models: Soïzic @elite; Raymond @Marylin. Photos & style: Buonomo & Cometti

“I wanted to mix costumes from the 17th and 18th centuries with today’s streetwear to achieve a new form of modernity,” explains Yohji Yamamoto of the women’s collection.

Between perfectionism and asymmetry, Yohji Yamamoto assembles silhouettes like a composer on his score: by keys. Thus a few baroque prints, such as gilding, adorn leggings and capes. The accent is placed on the theatricality of the garment, and as the silhouettes become more complex: corsets made of baroque vines hold the bust while the petticoats are formed from an assembly of materials with heterogeneous volumes and textures. The large flat capes have holes in the crown, revealing a few hairs. Red platform sneakers reminiscent of ice skates complete the looks and give the ensemble a surreal aura.

The suit jackets are as if torn, they have folds and flaps with portrait collars, narrowed waists, and flared or peplum hems and are increased by geometric volumes evoking origami, while the unstructured tailoring pieces are adorned in certain places with scraps of white fabric or with calligraphy prints. The long dresses reveal a real work of assembling materials that come together in shreds, going so far as to imitate organic shapes.

The men’s spring-summer collection features loosely tailored suits in shades of deep blue, ivory, charcoal gray and of course black. The palette is unusually vivid with colorful prints on velour suits. Almost-psychedelic appliqués are mixed with prints for a kaleidoscopic effect, and suits are artfully patched on ivory ground. Layering is key, pleated half skirts and aprons were worn with loose trousers or built into outerwear.

For several seasons now, Yamamoto has used his menswear looks like chalkboards or empty walls which he “tags” with fragments and phrases. “What are you made of?” “Shitty life,” and “I’m so bored with rules,” are some of this season’s snippets. The last one could be read as a mantra; Yamamoto, a rebel with a cause, has always walked his own path, and continues to do so as he nears 80.

With his latest men’s lineup, Yohji Yamamoto made a departure from his usual all-black collections, saying that his idea for the season was “to take off my old clothing and try new colors, new inspiration.” He continued by saying, “So it was very joyful to make this collection, but it was very dangerous.”