Yohji Yamamoto is a highlight of the Paris Fashion Week schedule, and Spring Summer 2024 was no different. The brand has achieved a rare staying power in the fashion industry, showing in the French capital for more than 40 years, following its first in-store fashion show in 1981. This lasting legacy has been achieved by going against the grain, designing clothing that is true to Yamamoto’s own experiences and ultimately creating pieces that people want to wear.
The brand’s SS24 show took place inside the Paris City Hall, where an elevated runway ensured clothes were front and centre for the crowd of industry professionals and friends of the brand, which included photography legend Juergen Teller, whose pink sweater stood in stark contrast to the signature black palette which was seen throughout the collection.
As was to be expected, Yohji Yamamoto combined his signature imperfection and curated deconstruction with elevated tailoring, of which he is a master of his craft. We saw rigid tailored waistcoats reach up to models’ necks, worn with a long-sleeved white shirt underneath, featuring exaggerated shoulders in a typical avant-garde adjustment to traditional tailoring. Contrast was provided through white rounded buttons, as the look was completed with a flowing ankle-length skirt.
Next, we saw the same waistcoat, this time paired with a skirt with cut-out detailing at the front and completed with long flowing entrails to the side. On foot, models wore black and white bowling-style footwear, providing a muted pop of colour to an otherwise sleek monochrome look.
The colour palette went back to black, as a sheer top was held together with a rigid, solid central seam and paired with an ankle-length dress which featured pockets to the side, demonstrated as a model slowly walked hand-in-pocket, setting a more relaxed pace in contrast to the chaotic fashion week schedule.
A slowed-down stoicism was felt throughout the collection, from the elevated stage-style catwalk to the unhurried pace at which models walked, turning slightly as they passed each other. The soundtrack included a slowed-down version of “Come Together” by the Beatles, which further eschewed the quiet confidence which stems from designing clothing in its own lane, using the traditional Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi, which focuses on the acceptance of transience and imperfection as a springboard for his designs.
Another look saw ruched detailing protruding from the left shoulder strap of a dress, with the same detailing extending diagonally from the hip to provide an uneven, textured contrast across the body. It was worn with slip-on pumps, which felt like an authentic nod to Japanese footwear. Later, we saw this detailing featured on the back of dresses, which worked as a train of sorts, bouncing with the slowed movements of its wearer.
The next chapter of the collection saw straight-leg tailored trousers worn with belts complete with a dangling silver chain. The buckle featured a heart crafted from metal, which appeared to mirror the texture of barbed wire and was sandwiched between ‘Y’ detailing of the same material make-up. Here, we saw the bowling-style pump return, this time with a heel, while further accessories arrived in the form of black-framed sunglasses and silver necklaces which mirrored the appearance of folded piping. Later looks showed mesh shirts with layered white polka-dot ink-bleeding, further nodding to the traditional Wabi Sabi Japanese aesthetic.
For SS24, Yohji Yamamoto did what Yohji Yamamoto does best, combining curated imperfection with immaculate tailoring whilst nodding to traditional Japanese aesthetics. The collection was a confident display of accented minimalism, which felt intrinsically a part of the pioneering movement the brand is a part of and has consistently achieved for over 40 years.
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