Frank, fearless and free
, Yohji Yamamoto decided to go where he had never gone before. “I wanted it to be sexy!” announced the designer known for purity, if not prudishness. His exploration of skin, so far, had been brief glimpses of flesh, often as a flash at the back.
But here was an entire collection based on what the French call “déshabillé”, which was once described by an English poet as “a sweet disorder in the dress.”
So there were Yohji’s familiar 50 shades of black, with a shoulder falling out of a dark slithery column, a sober long skirt, the pattern burnt out to give a hazy vision of the flesh beneath. Trousers turned down at the top displayed a bared midriff. A tuxedo, with one side sliced off, revealed the length of a bared leg.
As the models wound in and out of the audience, who were perched on small, silver stools, the tension built up: from dangling undone threads to silvered mesh and a shower of golden tinsel, then gold satin slipping off the shoulders and gold gleaming from boots at the feet.
This unexpected exploration of erotica was daring only by Yohji’s standards. With the slow pace as the models moved sinuously around the clutter of stools, I thought first about the movie The Piano, and then about those erotic Japanese drawings hidden in the corners of museums.
Yohji’s long courtship with sensuality ended with a bride, fully clothed and decked out in flowers, as the smiling designer doffed his hat to love.