On Friday night in Paris, fashion week attendees assembled in the party room of the city’s iconic Hôtel de Ville underneath sparkling crystal chandeliers to welcome Yohji Yamamoto’s return to the runway. This year marks forty years since the designer debuted at Paris Fashion Week and it was clear both he and those used to his presence in the city’s fashion scene were relieved and excited about the return to normalcy after 18 months of a pandemic-prompted pause to proceedings.
Keeping to his signature style, the collection was almost exclusively black, bar a few silver additions to garments, which matched the model’s punk-themed hair. Long black draped fabric dresses opened the show, wrapped around model’s bodies through draping and twisting, showing off the asymmetry, deconstructed shapes and avant-garde tailoring the 77-year-old designer has become synonymous with over his decades-long career.
Following a slew of black trenches came mini dresses with puff sleeves worn with stirrup leggings and mini skirts paired with bare legs and see-through black button-up shirts. Though the collection was quintessentially Yamamoto, these pieces marked a changing with the times and the first he’s ventured into such short hemlines.
The show of skin didn’t end there, either. On-trend cut-out tops came next, showing off the model’s toned torsos through missing squares of fabric all down the righthand side of the fabric. Long-sleeves and exaggerated draping details in a silvery-white—the first colour seen on the runway—grabbed attention, offsetting the otherwise overtly sexy look.
Natural fibres like linen and cotton gave the collection a more casual tone than usual, especially when paired with sneakers and low leather boots as all the models were wearing, with not a heel in sight. But the precise cuts and attention to detail the Japanese designer puts into each and every piece instantly elevated even the simplest of looks: Yamamoto can make even a t-shirt make complete sense in amongst a backdrop of chandeliers.
The show ended with models wearing huge hoop skirts with exposed undercarriages made with what looked like metal bars, reminiscent of Yamamoto’s iconic early collections some 20 years ago where the hoop skirts were famously made with bamboo.