Born in Tokyo, Yohji Yamamoto set up his own company Y’s Incorporated in 1972. His work has been fêted for challenging the conventions of fashion, the playful pieces feature asymmetric cuts and unusual silhouettes.
Celebrating the designer’s major retrospective that was displayed at the V&A, the show, in July 2011, was modelled by real-life London couples.
Coralie Gautier: We just got the idea to go for couples because it was an old idea that we used in 1998 for the Spring/Summer 1999 menswear collection. Out here, at the V&A exhibition, we do have like menswear and womenswear together and we thought that was quite nice to use this old idea and to refresh it for the V&A Fashion in Motion show. Guesting for Yohji Yamamoto is very important and very special because it feels like when he's creating, he creating not only for one woman or for one man, he's creating for all people from everywhere, from every culture, for every shape, they can be tall, they can be short, they can be a little bit big or skinny and it's no matter about it, it's more about an attitude, a way to be, maybe a kind of self confidence. If you show a little bit of shine, it's about an attitude. So for him, the Yohji Yamamoto outfits are ... to wear is giving only 80% of the outfit because it's up to the person, the people who are going to wear the clothes to put in their personality and that is most important because it's what makes you different basically.
Jasmine Kuytenstierna & Sofia Quintero: Basically we wanted to come for the late night, so we went there, the Yohji Yamamoto. We heard that they wanted couples, so we went to see the clothes and check it out. We walked back and forwards and they took our picture and then they contacted us.It's been so much fun. They put foundation even on your fingertips ... you have five or six people doing everything for you all the time.
Coralie Gautier: It's like the current collection, that's Spring/Summer 2011. We picked it because mainly the menswear collection was totally inspired by the V&A collection. So we felt it was very appropriate to show it today. For Yohji Yamamoto there was a very special meaning to be at the V&A because London is always a city that interests him a lot. He first visited in the 70s and he was absolutely overwhelmed by all the punk movement, especially Vivienne Westwood and the shop that she was running at the time. London has always been very special because all the photographers that we used for catalogues in the 80s and 90s was done by a British photographer and we are using for the Spring catalogue amongst others. So most of the time he is feeling that England and Ireland and Japan they do have this common spirit about fighting and to be elated at the same time. So it's a special place for him and when we have been invited by the V&A and by the Wapping as well to have a satellite gallery, he just felt that it was just perfect time because it was still to be a rebel, still to be active, still showing about his work and his special attitude in the fashion world.
The public audience seem really happy about it and they are like quite surprised because we are having very special lighting for all, nearly all the shows ... that is a kind of very different lighting and it's very different in the process of showing because it's taking a little while to be up, the full light, so it's giving a special atmosphere. I think that they have been quite surprised as well about the music, it was very classic ... it was like giving a kind of assymetric balance that you can find in the Yamamoto clothes. So it looks like they're enjoying it, so we hope they did.