31 July 2012


Spring/Summer 2001

Like finding a lost wedding ring
Yohji Yamamoto in conversation with Ligaya Salazar
Yohji Yamamoto, Exhibition Catalogue, V&A (2011)

YY: [...]We have to find a new vocabulary. I understand why European people take my creation as very Japanese: it is probably because if you see a creation as a whole, as 100 per cent, I will always try to finish before arriving at 100. This five, seven or 10 per cent - in Japanese, we call it 'empty' or 'in-between' or 'uncompleted'. A good example is when you go to shut a window or door and leave a space. We need this space, so I design space. Space has always been very important in Japanese traditional art, in every genre, like painting, sculpting or theatrical expression. The space of expression is even more important than the visual or written. I think you say in English, you read the between sentence, how do you say that?

LS: Reading between the lines.

YY: Between the lines, yes. This expression relates very closely to this space. I'm always trying to create this space, and space means a lot. So, if very sharp people find the space in my creation, then they call my work very Japanese. Then, it's all right.


LS: How do you feel about your menswear creations then, which we are showing for the first time in the V&A exhibition, if the one thing you can't feel in the way you create women's clothes is your own body? Is that different then in menswear?

YY: Very different. Totally different. When I started a men's line in Paris, my message was very simple: let's be outside of this. Let's be far from our suits and ties. Let's be far from businessmen. Let's be vagabonds.
I was born in a very bad moment in Japan. There was no food to feed babies, so my generation of people are very small. So naturally I am angry about my size, so I design big sizes. I started by designing air in the jacket, in the shirt. Men's items are very limited - the shirt, jacket and trousers, maybe a coat, that's it. It's about how to put air between cloth and body.


The baggy shirts, the loose trousers, that sense of freedom. The lightweight wrinkled fabrics that float when you walk, the wools that feels as cool as cotton, the fabrics to amaze. And of course, what Yohji menswear show would be complete without a bit of humour thrown in for good measure?



  1. the sense of freedom reminds me of this


  2. I know what Yohji is saying exactly. That is Japanese sense for art.

    Mmm…I didn"t know he thinks about his size in the way.War is sad.

    I love his menswear too.I feel freedom and humor!

  3. Mr. Yamamoto so profoundly and so poetically explains the story behind the fit of his clothes and how it relates to the Japanese people. I didn't recognize this collection until I scrolled down and saw it was YY 2000. I'm sure people say this a lot, but I would wear every piece of this collection today. I was fortunate enough to purchase a Yohji Pour Homme Spring 2001 piece and it fits in perfectly with my new clothes. Also, it's lovely to see someone with a very typical Filipino name curating a Yohji menswear exhibition!

    P.S. Where do you find your Yohji archival runway photos?