Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Work It Out

As I sat waiting for the Y3 show to begin at Pier 40 on the Hudson River last week, I was amazed to see how many non-fashionistas there were. Hordes of Japanese hipsters, handfuls of hip hop honchos and a smattering of fashion-industry types rubbed shoulders while sipping cocktails underneath the stars with a charming view of Jersey City just a stone’s throw away. Even some celebs (Samuel L. Jackson made a cameo) came out to play causing a paparazzi frenzy, nay, riot trampling on editors and buyers to get a money shot of an A-lister. Here was a show (the only show I attended this Fashion Week) that literally brought together people of all cultures, neighborhoods and labels to celebrate a man that meant the same thing to all of them – chic sportswear.

After all Mr. Yamamoto paved the way for the rest of the fashionable followers to collaborate with a sportswear brand. Stella McCartney for Adidas, Christy Turlington for Puma, Scarlett Johannson for Reebok, almost everyone has made a stab at the business. Yet no one (well maybe Miss McCartney comes close) reaches the stratosphere of what Mr. Yamamoto does, specifically, making a sweat suit as chic as a 3-piece suit.

In fact, that’s just what he did for this Spring/Summer 07 show. Going beyond the traditional track pant, Yohji coupled racer-back tanks with tailored suspenders, button-downs with nylon running pants and brought back spandex without any hint of shame or irony.

Yes, Mr. Yamamoto deftly undersands today’s casual chic. You know the scenario- it’s past midnight and you have a hankering for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, so you grab the first thing out of your closet – mismatched but clothed you dash out and end up utterly fabulous. A bit undone, you look messy, but in a very careful and chic messy way. That's what the show looked like, but through the eyes of Japanese visionary.

Each piece had the tailoring of a ready-to-wear collection, yet the versatile fabrics made it all sporty. This was Yohji at his best, doing what he does best.

Final Word: At one point during the finale, beneath a spectacular strobe light installation, I fell in love with Yohji’s work once again. Every piece undeniably smart and wearable, I will be hitting the Y3 store hard this spring – Ben & Jerry’s or not.

1 comment:

Rafe said...

I have always loved Yohji and we're talking back in the 80's when he first opened a store on Grand Street and what seemed to be like at that time SO SO FAR AWAY. He's a true pioneer in his thinking and designs. He collaborated with Addidas and sparked a whole wave of designer sneaker hysteria and pricing structure. Now you can buy $400 designer sneakers and not even think about it. He's a genius and I'm glad you think so too.