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26-04-2005
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26-04-2005
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robe de chambre





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26-04-2005
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from kind.co.jp




CDG Aoyama


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26-04-2005
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about to fall or fly
 
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i haven't had a chance to read this whole thread yet..so much amazing information..
but i just wanted to thank all of you for one of the most comprehensive discussions of this that i've ever seen..
i've been interested in it for quite some time, and i have never had a conversation quite like this before.
yoshitomo nara is one of my favorite artists of all time (i think i saw someone post something about him)
and if i could afford it, i think the only thing i would ever buy would be anything by junya!

anyway, i'll read and post something useful, but for now..thanks so much. you guys are awesome!


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26-04-2005
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flaunt the imperfection
 
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well...we won't see francesca for about two weeks now while she tries to read everything that's been posted here......

runner...what season are those things you posted from..do you know?...

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26-04-2005
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haha...it's true! i'll go grey long before then!

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26-04-2005
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well..
i still haven't finished reading all the links and articles...it's a lot to absorb...
but there's no rush , right?......

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26-04-2005
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awesome francesca--look forward to your posting

thanks runner for the pics. i like quite a few of those

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Last edited by travolta; 26-04-2005 at 11:58 AM.
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26-04-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner
sorry helena

this is the image. (the trees were in full blossom last weekend)
thanks runner - i only just saw this picture now. What a lovely garden. (btw, so sorry to hear about the terrible train crash in your country).

runner - the pictures you posted above of Tricot & Robe de Chambre - are they from a previous season? I really like the pink shirt, the pale blue shirt & the checked skirt. Thankyou.

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03-05-2005
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yohji takes the role as costume designer from dutch magazine 2001

you should be able to zoom in on the article...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg yo.JPG (69.0 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg yosh.JPG (120.2 KB, 46 views)

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Yohji bared the independent august 2002

Fashion has its fair share of obsessive personalities. Most obviously there are the foot fetishists - the Manolo Blahniks of this world, people who positively swoon at the sight of a finely turned ankle. Then there are those who worship at the altar of the traditional hour-glass figure - Gianni Versace, Azzedine Alaia and Thierry Mugler to name just three. But flick through a copy of Talking To Myself, an "illustrated notebook" on the life and work of Yohji Yamamoto published this month, and a rather more subtle form of adoration emerges. One lovely, smudgy black illustration after another is devoted to nothing more overtly sexual than the back. The long, willowy, discreetly erotic female torso, viewed straight on or from the side, is clearly the stuff that Yamamoto's dreams are made of.

The great Japanese designer is sitting in his small, private studio at the top of Yamamoto Paris HQ, struggling to explain this point of view. For Yamamoto, who agrees to face-to-face interviews only very rarely, expressing himself is always a huge struggle, apparently. His chosen location to do so is, all in all, a very humble affair - no flash interior design features, no huge intimidating desk to sit and pontificate across, nothing more than a basic armchair. The designer is wearing his personal uniform of white shirt and black gabardine trousers; Yamamoto is fashion's king of gabardine. He is a small, fine-boned man with a lined but extraordinarily handsome face, bearing the kind of introspective, gentle features and weathered demeanour that Rembrandt might have liked to paint.

"In the very beginning of my life," he says, very slowly and quietly, as befits a man who has by now attained mythical - even mystical - status, "I only knew my mother. She was a war widow, working very hard. Since my memory started, she was just working, working, working. So I was always looking at her back. I had double emotions about it. Firstly, I had to help her, try to make her life easier. But also, she was always leaving and I was always running after her. So, my ideal woman is always moving away from me. And I am saying, `Don't go, don't go.'"

If this response is hardly predictable then Mr Yamamoto is far from the average designer. It's not news that fashion still largely preoccupies itself with an over-stylised, inhumanly perfect Jessica Rabbit image of femininity, with its roots in glossy magazines and the Hollywood starlets of the 1940s, 1950s and beyond. For Yamamoto, this is clearly not the case: his aesthetic relies on the highly personal memories of a small, sensitive and very serious child.

"Unconsciously or consciously, I don't know," he continues, "it comes from a sense of missing. I think clothes should be made from the back, and not the front. The back supports the clothes and so if it is not properly made, the front cannot exist. And, at the same time, the curve of the back is very sexy."

And what of the front of the woman, I wonder. Is that not sexy too? "It's too much," says Yamamoto, for the first time not needing to pause for reflection - more often than not, the silence between questions is far longer than any answer. "The front is too strong." He laughs when he says it but insists that the bourgeois fashion ideal of big hair, red lipstick and sky-high heels is nothing short of "terrible" as far as he is concerned. "Where I was born," he told me six years ago now, the first time we met, "there were very many prostitutes. And they were wearing high heels and strong lipstick. And really, I was afraid. I was scared. Because they looked very, very wild. Very wild and scary. Not natural." Today, nothing much has changed. "I get sick when I see it," he says, shaking his head in dismay - you can almost hear his nerves jangling. "I'm always trying to do something else, trying to go somewhere else."

And go there he most certainly has. For more than 20 years now, Yamamoto has proposed an entirely different - entirely original - way to dress. It relies more on the intimate relationship between garment and wearer than on flash-trash high-impact effect and status. It has its roots in tailored menswear but is both extremely feminine and unusually humane. Above all, it concentrates on the volume of a garment and the gentle envelopment of women's bodies, as opposed to exposing them for all to see. Yamamoto, far from attempting to propose women cover up any so-called imperfections, positively revels in any asymmetry; for him this is a thing of beauty.

"I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want so see scars, failure, disorder, distortion. If I can feel those things in work by others, then I like them. Perfection is a kind of order, like overall harmony and so on... They are things someone forces on to a thing. A free human being does not desire such things. And yet I get the feeling there are a lot of women who do not seek freedom; women who wear symmetrical clothes."

A woman in high heels and wearing heavy make-up would look nothing short of silly in Yamamoto's designs, which work with any idiosyncrasy lovingly as opposed to against it. But it didn't always seem this way. "By dressing women in low heels, I give them a different way of walking, of feeling, and of presenting themselves," the designer once said. But when, in 1981, Yamamoto first showed his designs in Paris, the fashion critics of the day were lost for words. Struggling to describe the collection of huge, dark asymmetric shapes in distressed fabrics and peppered with holes, worn with shoes that were dead flat, even rustic, they could come up with nothing more intelligent than "Hiroshima chic". With his former partner and collaborator, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons, Yamamoto grew up in the shadow of the Second World War. Even in his native Japan the women who wore Yohji Yamamoto were labelled, not entirely sympathetically, "the crows".

But for Yamamoto, any such adversity has only served to fuel his unswerving ambition to be part of fashion - and today he is a hugely dominant force - while maintaining an "anti-fashion" stance. Or, as he himself puts it: "I have always worked to the side of the centre. It has been very tough but it has always been like this."

The designer was born in Tokyo in 1943. His mother was a seamstress, his father was drafted and killed in the Second World War. "He went against his will," Yamamoto said in the 1989 documentary, Notebook on Cities and Clothes, directed by his friend Wim Wenders. "When I think of my father, I realise that the war is still raging inside me." After completing a degree in law at Keio University, Yamamoto turned his attention to fashion, working with his mother and graduating from the Bunkafukuso Gakuin school in the Japanese capital in 1969, before setting up as a designer in his own right.

Yamamoto describes himself as a boy. "When friends of mine, schoolmates, invited me to go fishing or running in the mountains, I joined them but I didn't join them in their way. I was always watching. I didn't like myself. I was a very quiet boy, always full of doubt."

Yamamoto's essentially very shy nature - he only rarely catches my eye as we speak - cannot detract from the fact that he is currently in the throes of what is known in the trade as a "fashion moment". After years of being marginalised as an "intellectual" designer - if fashion can ever be such a thing - and safe in the knowledge that he is always the proverbial fish out of water, he has recently signed a deal with Adidas to design a collection of sportswear. It started in autumn/winter 2001 with a limited- edition collection of trainers, all finished with the famous triple stripe. Since then, more than 50,000 pairs have been sold, "exceeding all our expectations", as Hermann Deninger, head of global business development at Adidas put it at a press conference in Paris last month. So excited were the powers that be that they have taken the collaboration further. With the first clothing collection currently in design and due to be launched for spring 2003, Adidas are forecasting that, in 10 years, sales will represent 5 per cent of total volume - that's close to $250m. This is quite a leap, given that worldwide sales of Yamamoto's main line hit a comparatively paltry $90m last year.

Yamamoto himself says his reasons for entering into the deal are, once again, entirely personal. "It is very simple," he says. "Here I am, a fashion designer, but here I am, a man, 58 years old. And I still care about my body. It doesn't work properly now but I need to come back to my imaginary good body. Then I have to go jogging, running, to find my body potential. At that time, I cannot find any jogging pants, sweat jackets, nothing. It is all awful." Which means, and he says this as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, "I can't run."

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His reassuringly human vanity notwithstanding, the designer is also aware of - and uncomfortable with - the fact that his main line collection is elitist. It is hugely expensive even by designer fashion standards for example, due to the sheer complexity of garments and the work that goes into making each piece.

"Naturally, this could be a minor part of fashion. It's not for everybody. That's OK but sometimes I think to myself it's a bit lazy because fashion has to be a bit more exciting, a bit more cheerful, a bit more dynamic than that." Confused? (There is, on more than one occasion, the distinct feeling that Yamamoto is attacking himself.) Well, so is the designer.

"With these double meanings," says Yamamoto, looking at the floor, every bit the guru as he shakes his greying head once more, "I am struggling a lot."

Even he, though, must be pleased with the reviews from his most recent collection - all nothing short of euphoric. "It's very clear," he told Women's Wear Daily at the time. "I rarely meet people wearing my clothes in the street. They are a specialised, selective thing." The work of other designers, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs, he feels, is more broadly accepted. "When I pass by their shops, something is shining. Something is right for the time. Sometimes I feel out of it, I mean, I'm old. And sometimes I feel something is missing."

No such modesty was in evidence last month at the opulent Paris opera house, where one tenderly conceived outfit after another emerged. There were the all-in-ones Yamamoto borrows from the costume of men at war, with which he remains preoccupied to this day. There was the finest silk, fluttering around the bodies of the world's most beautiful women like the ultimate caress. Most remarkable was a strapless corseted ballgown - the top stood away from the body, directing attention at the swanlike shoulders and neck - so apparently simple but far from it.

The collection was almost entirely black and white - "like a drawing". Among his other accolades, Yamamoto, with Kawakubo, is of course responsible for giving this colour to fashion in the early 1980s - until then it was still largely the preserve of mourning. He says he did so - and does so today - because it is the only way he can concentrate his attention entirely on the structure of the clothes.

Talking To Myself contains fashion images inspired by Yamamoto's clothing shot by the world's greatest photographers. But this is more than a mere picture book; it also includes perhaps the most illuminating essay on his work to date. It is not surprising that this comes not from a fashion critic but from Yama-moto's friend, Kiyokazu Washida, philosopher and professor of the faculty of literature at the graduate school of Osaka University.

Washida points out that Yamamoto, throughout his career, has described his clothes as "shabby". "What he means by this is that they do not allow association with any of society's particular stereotypes." Whether they are worn by "the salaried employee or the artist, the journalist or the student, the elderly or the young, his clothes are, in fact, difficult to match with any concrete image, when seen at a glance. Rather, in defiance of any such identification, they are in a sense peculiarly abstract."

In the end, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Talking To Myself are the designer's own words, which range from the playful to the melancholic. If Yama-moto's clothes are clearly autobiographical, his personal life is his own. But here's Yohji on alcohol. "Drinking puts me in a cheerful mood. I like all the confusion, like when I have to ask myself who I was or who I am. I am completely transformed by drink. I want to make people happy. I'll do anything to make sure they're enjoying themselves." And on life. "You know, I sometimes feel homesick. When I have this feeling of emptiness after a collection, I tell myself I want to go home... But I'm too old to be calling for my mother, don't you think?"

So, why has this intensely private man decided to talk about these things? "I think people think, `We still don't understand Yohji,'" he says. "I don't understand Yohji. So this has been a trial."

Trial or not, Yamamoto seems almost happy. And for a man who has always struggled with a mass of contradictions, and for whom the whole design process is clearly quite arduous, this is worthy of note. His work, he says, has indeed been painful until now. "But recently, I just said, let's enjoy."

Yamamoto continues to travel to Paris for the shows but is based in Tokyo, where he has three children. "Just one bed, a few books, one guitar, one bottle of whisky. That's home, that's enough," he says. "When I come back to Tokyo I don't feel I've been away. When I come to Paris, I don't feel I've been away either. I'm always in the same place."

And that place, despite everything, remains a mystery. "I'm still a secret, you know?" laughs Yohji Yamamoto. But of course. n

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03-05-2005
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Many thanks Travolta for the articles:-)

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