PARIS--There is nothing that makes me happier than going to a really fancy restaurant, somewhere progressive (though it doesn’t have to be new, and the chef doesn’t need to be famous), and being sated by the simplest, most delicious food, made with the best ingredients. It can be original without being wildly experimental. And it can be bright, robust and flavorful, without reaching across the globe for different spices, textures and influences. This is how I felt walking into Y-3’s happy and laid-back F/W 2011 presentation, which was also a celebration of Adidas' 10 years with Yohji Yamamoto.
Only a few of you will get this right away, but the collection is more Mario, less Shinobi (both Japanese video game characters, one plain and Americanized, the other ninjafied). Yamamoto’s skill is that he brings the technology and experimental wonderment of Japan’s consumerist obsession to a remarkably toned down German brand that, at the end of the day, is about a plain tennis show with three plain stripes. But the marriage works beautifully, and has so for a decade. Where they’ve lost me before is when I haven’t been able to relate on casual level to Yamamoto’s choices: his pants have been to architectural; there were too many zippers here, folds there, etc. It wasn’t even that there were too many bells and whistles, it’s that the clothing was in its entirety, and exploration of bells and whistles themselves.
I had none of those concerns with this collection. The success of its simplicity was evident from the models’ first steps, which were on a treadmill, giving the presentation the flow and rhythm if a show without any of the fuss of timing.
Yamamato has cut his coats with the rustic in mind, occasionally layering them on top of each other, giving us an image of a Siberian soldier, or lumberjack, taking on the city streets. The military element comes back around with cargo pants, and arm-pockets on the jackets. The Y-3 logo makes seldom appearances, which is a relief, and allowed the viewer to focus on his angular one-button suit jacket, high-collared plaid flannel shirt, and a grey flannel suit that was smelled of just the right amount of effort.
Hats (there are the standard woolen caps and toques here—good, but nothing to rave about) off to Y-3 for doing a presentation the right way, giving their audience time to digest Yamamoto’s fine collection, and the ten years of progress that led us to it. **Photos courtesy of Y-3.