Friday, December 11, 2009

Yohji Yamamoto takes a U-turn, embraces skinny silhouette!

Think Yohji Yamamoto and images of gloomy girls buried under heaps of black cloth with not a hint of the powerful sexuality that might lie hidden underneath, float across the mind's eye.This time around when the silhouettes mirrored the recession and transformed from voluminous black skirts to tight mini skirts and skinny pants, everyone familiar with Yamamoto's work raised an eyebrow in pleasant surprise. A few days later when Yamamoto filed for bankruptcy protection with debts accrued to $67 million, the pieces all fitted together. Concept has been swapped for commercialism, where bottom line seemed to be the strong focus and that it could be strengthened without slaughtering creativity, is after all the genius of Yamamoto.

Yamamoto understood that no one has the pleasant mood or the gentle patience to indulge in "conceptual" fantasy.Rather he focused on the mood at hand, making angst filled women, thinned down by financial worries and dressed in fitted black skirts and shirts with mutton of leg sleeves and collars stylishly popped out, take on the task of being their families' breadwinner, their inner turmoil and state of unrest manifested through bedraggled hair and blazing eyes made prominent through brightly colored feathers stuck on the eyebrows of eyes painted to match the color of the feathers!

The no nonsense tough attitude was prolonged through taut black boned corset jackets and double breasted tuxedo jackets with their collars and lapels pushed down to bare shoulders and worn with miniskirts, all coyness vapourising into an overpowering femininity!

As the show progressed the girls got bolder and rougher donning black leather, puffed-sleeve moto-cross jackets and fitted shirts worn with either asymmetrical miniskirts with kilt pleats on one side or over studded garter peeking out of miniskirts!

With jobs so scarce and the mood intensely workaholic with everyone consumed by a ravaging need to hold on to their only source of income, the focus was on work wear, the lean frame of the damsels held in respect through skinny pants and shorts worn with the usual fare of Yamamoto's floor grazing shirt dresses or the more conventional T-shirt over jackets, even the t-shirts oozing out their despair through little black appliqu├ęd flowers decorating them!

Toughness and practicality give way to another hero of the hour, namely frugality! The worked-to-the-bone woman has barely enough time to crash into bed after making a messy something in the kitchen with not even sufficient time to clean up the leftovers! What was once a spic and span apartment had metamorphosed into a hell where rodents, moths and the like roam around as if they owned the place! The tough life bearing down on her apartment eventually starts showing up in her wardrobe that comprises of skinny pants that hide bony legs and long black lounge robes, all riddled with holes resulting from persistent gnawing at by rodents, barely held together and ready to disintegrate at any time. But in our girl's fight for survival these are the least of her concerns and so we catch a glimpse of her running around doing her weekend errands in "decayed couture"!

Finally, even during bad times there is the occasional merriment in the form of some one's birthday or baptism which begs to be dressed in "cheerful clothes". Our heroine brings down a musty old box from her attic where she has put away the girlie dresses of her cheerful youth to wait for better times! As she unpacks those delicate Liberty print floral dresses and jackets with utmost care, she notices to her utter dismay that the icy hands of ill fortune that had pulled her down into this rotten hole, had extended its hands right into this box as well, shredding the dresses into a "holey" mess! With a sunken heart and a threadbare dress our girl marches on to face the world as it is today...

Apart from the skinny silhouette which was a first in Yamamoto's collection, a 2 inch heeled shoe too was debuted by the designer whose shoes in the past neatly fell into the category of flat soled trainers! The finger tip exposing gloves too added a groovy edge to the collection!

Though the shoddy financial situation of his company might have been a contributing factor in Yamamoto choosing commercially sell able clothes over conceptual ones, still one has to commend Yamamoto for coming up with an extremely functional and smart work wear wardrobe with a bit of punk rock chic thrown in, in the form of bullet riddled jackets, pants and dresses.


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