Photo: Keiichi Tahara.
YOHJI YAMAMOTO Spring / Summer 2016 Paris Collection
Rebellious and spirited designer Yohji Yamamoto has been surprising and stirring up the fashion world for decades, shunning its fluctuating trends in favour of a more timeless style. With his recent collections, Yamamoto has sought to incorporate paintings into his clothing. This exhibition, Painting and Weaving Opportunity, explores the true essence and charm of this exceptional designer who, after forty years in the business, is still producing stunningly original creations.
The exhibition’s title, Painting and Weaving Opportunity, was thought up by Yamamoto’s old friend, self-styled ‘editorial engineer’ Seigow Matsuoka at Yamamoto’s request. It represents the possibilities presented by collaboration between painting and ‘woven’ textiles, i.e. clothes. It is not just the conjunction between painting and fashion that the exhibition presents, but also that between 2D and 3D, men and women, and other oppositions. The essential nature of all of these conjunctions is that of simultaneous repulsion and attraction, an inescapable, inevitable, and in many ways dangerous bond, which touches the very heart of creation.
The title’s suggestion of ‘seizing the opportunity’ also points to taking a childlike pleasure in the act of creation—something that not just Yamamoto, but all of us are capable of. Each of us was once a child, and we all still carry this experimental and unconstrained creative side within us.
This kind of freedom is also fully apparent in the work of Yuuka Asakura. The artist has been collaborating with Yamamoto for several seasons now, from the 2016 spring/summer collection onward. Aside from the bold designs she has produced on Yamamoto’s clothing, she also creates large-scale canvases and murals, and holds live painting events.
The show features painting and sculpture created by Yohji Yamamoto for the exhibition, as well as work he produced within the space itself. At first glance, the exhibition hall may seem chaotic, but a closer look reveals a complex interweaving of opposing forces, producing a daring and highly innovative space. Viewers can expect to catch glimpses of that which lies at the very roots of artistic creation.
There are clothes on display, too, but the oddly shaped bodies to model them are a far cry indeed from standard fashion mannequins, and have been dressed in a spirit of total freedom. Visitors with pre-established impressions of what a fashion exhibition looks like may be in for a surprise.