Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS–On a divided stage–one side covered in red fabrics and the other in black–a model emerged from backstage onto a raised runway inside the Marcel Cerdan at Bercy. The model was in a purple tank dress with a long train that fell to the side and a massive circular top hat with bow. As she came towards the end of the platform, she pulled on the long train that fell to the side, posed, and turned and walked back. These gestures and her long flowing dress recalled memories of past Yohji Yamamoto shows, particularly those held at the Sorbonne in the late 1990’s.
At Friday night’s spring show, Mr. Yamamoto explored familiar territory with a collection of beautifully made clothes that at times seemed less demanding for his customers than in recent seasons. His signature draping work and his tailoring–like the mannish black jackets with cotton ruffled shirts–were the strength of the collection that towards the end of the show veered off into end-of-the-18th-century territory. Along with a French song evoking Liberté on the speaker, this transported us all back to the era of the French Revolution. Somehow these were distractions to an otherwise polished collection. In between several outings of French revolution-era dresses, was a two button single-breasted jacket worn with pleated short pants. That, I am sure, will be what’s in stores next February. But then again had he shown just these kinds of looks–the wearable ones or the commercial clothes–it would no longer be a Yohji show.
There is something to be said about Mr. Yamamoto’s perseverance in the face of adversity. A few years ago his company went through a bankruptcy reorganization and the company closed many of its boutiques around the world. Yet in the midst of all this, the designer continues to subscribe to his own course of action and his designs reflect not a theme or trends people tweet about, but how he wants to make clothes. I am not sure how many designers working today have this level of confidence and perhaps courage. In the current fashion system with all its challenges, let’s cheer for a designer who believes in making clothes, not trends.
**All photos via Imaxtree