Yohji Yamamoto


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on May 2010

Photo by Kevin Mcgue

Tokyo’s fashion industry insiders were treated to a pleasant surprise last month when Yohji Yamamoto held his first show in Japan for nearly two decades. The designer presented the latest collection of his Yohji Yamamoto Hommes brand at an event in Yoyogi National Stadium attended by over 3,000 people.

Along with Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, Yamamoto is part of a generation of Japanese designers who created an international sensation with highly innovative collections in Paris in the early ’80s. Though he has maintained a certain level of popularity here, Yamamoto has long concentrated his activities in New York, Paris and, more recently, Beijing. This rapid international expansion was cited as the cause for a widely publicized bankruptcy and bailout last year, which led to the merger of his Y’s and Hommes brands, and an overall streamlining of his business.

These days, Yamamoto seems anxious to reassert his presence in his native country. “I have been absent from the Japanese fashion scene for a long time and want to do something to support it,” the 66-year-old designer said of his return. “I wanted to come back to Tokyo and light a fire in the fashion world.”

The recent show certainly went off with a bang. Local jam band Peace-K provided a funky live soundtrack to the proceedings, occasionally ditching their instruments to take turns on the runway, where they joined the likes of film director Sabu, actors Masaya Kato and Takashi Ukaji, and soccer coach Philippe Troussier.