2011 isn't only the chinese year of the rabbit it's also the 30th year anniversary of the japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto arriving in Paris 1981 and debuting his first prêt-a-porter collection in Paris, alongside Comme des Garcons' Rei Kawakubo. By this time his first collections were condemned by the French press as 'Hiroshima chic', editors like Janie Samet described his collection as 'a snobbism of rags that presents the future in a bad way', Eugenia Sheppard called it 'suicidal', for the paper WWD his clothes were made for homeless people living on station platforms and headlines like 'The Japanese Offensive', 'Intellectual Bag Ladies' adorned the front pages.Now, thirty years later the Victoria & Albert Museum in London launched on March 12th a retrospective of Yamamoto's work celebrating three decades of his unique work until July 10th 2011. The main exhibition space houses over 60 creations and a multi-media timeline which reveals Yamamoto's wider creative output. As part of the retrospective, Yamamoto's work stretches further across London with satellite installations at the Wapping Project sites. So after reserving tickets for his soon to be released documentary my next keywords on my to-do-list should be 'Buy Easyjet tickets for London' and 'visit Yohji Yamamoto's retrospective'..
'At that moment, I didn't respect any designer. Any history. I was simply looking for the idea for myself, for my own excitement. So it was naturally out of trend, out of fashion. I was panicked by the reaction. I really felt I don't mean that, I'm not coming here to Paris to say something against the fashion. I just wanted to open my own small shop. That's it.'
'It was big pressure [showing the following season]. At the beginning, my memories are of more than 70 per cent of the audience booing and 30 per cent understanding or welcoming. I remember… panic. From the next collection it became a war. I didn't want a war but too much attack made me fight.Gradually, gradually, it was becoming 50/50 between people understanding and not. When I felt that it became even, I felt comfortable. And afterwards when I felt I was welcomed by more than 70 per cent, I felt very uncomfortable.'
'They started to call me master, maestro. So I was shouting in my mind, "No I'm not, I'm just a dressmaker, fighting." '
read the complete interview here
|Yohji Yamamoto's wool coats with integrated bags Fall Winter Collection 1983|