Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS--I remember meeting Ms. Limi Yamamoto at Yohji Yamamoto's Tokyo headquarters over three years ago. She spoke with such conviction about how much rock music has influenced her life and her designs. For Limi, it gave her a way to distinguish her own designs from her father's, who certainly casts a massive shadow over her work.
But at yesterday afternoon's show, Limi demonstrated that she no longer requires rock to be inspired. As the soft sound of piano and the occasional bagpipe wafted out of the speakers, a model emerged in a light grey wool cropped biker jacket with matching shorts, worn with a long print cotton shirt and pants. The designer focused on her training in pattern making in a collection that played on volumes and shapes. "I began with a piece of square fabric to see how many different shapes I could make from it," she said.
The large grey wool sleeveless double-breasted pantsuit, the black wool cape-coat with flared pants, and the slouch shoulder sleeveless boxy jacket and large skirt showed how volume could alter the very basic shape of a classic garment. Although it may look simple, designing a black lapel swoop cowl neck coat with elbow length sleeves requires technical skills, honed over many years. (Limi launched her own brand in 2002 and has showed in Paris since October 2007.)
Central to the collection is the basic white shirt, transformed into a long loose dress and a knee length dress worn with a black coat jacket. It was also shown just as a regular shirt under a wool skirt suit with front pleating. One of the best looks was a menswear-inspired black wool single-breasted jacket with knee-length drop crotch shorts. Another was an aqua blue leather cropped biker jacket with a tri-colored dress and the black silk satin asymmetrical dress with intermittent slashes, revealing skin underneath the draped fabrics. There was more sophistication in her work this time around, compared to the street wear impulses she has tried to fight in past seasons.
In future seasons, Ms. Limi needs to expand her fashion vocabulary. Her audience and customers are now familiar with the way she cuts her clothes. She should want to take them somewhere else along her fashion journey. Good news is that she's already begun to stretch herself: “I always want to try something new. Even if I am not fond of flower print, I challenged myself to work on it in a different way, making it blurred,” she said after the show about those out-of-focus floral prints.
**Photos by Imaxtree.