PARIS, JANUARY 24, 2016
by LUKE LEITCH
The three-way private-sector Space Race being fought out between Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson red flags a near future, say a half-century or so away, of helter-skelter change. As the manifold reasons for which we get dressed are also upgraded—why go to the mall when Amazon can deliver everything you desire, then take you into orbit instead?—it’s fun to make creative postulations about what the Wardrobe of the Future will be. In interviews, Yohji Yamamoto is a perspicacious trout—he declines to be hooked upon an obvious question. Eventually, though, he conceded: “This collection is very close to a space journey.”
Liftoff! The opening black movement was a combination of the athletic, the monastic, and the decorative. In front of an endless dot-matrix doorway, gently prettified street sportswear—bias-cut sweat jackets plus coats and smocks given gather and drape by just-for-that zippers—made first contact with the photographer. There were some fun speculative utilitarian pieces: They say the human reliability on smartphones might trigger the evolution of extra fingers to operate them, so who’s to say we won’t reconfigure even more profoundly? A woman’s hoodie had a third sleeve hanging loose and—as yet—uncalled upon, behind the left shoulder.
The fabric was synthetic, matte, and stiff: But then there was a throwback to planet organic. An oversize woolen duffle and poncho came gridded by panels of what looked like black leather. A black leather shirt, worn in reverse, flashed its patina of crinkle. You could see weft and irregularity in a black-gray mélange coat that seemed wool but might have been anything, really.
At the end, some shine-slicked semi-sheer green outerwear accented against a pattern of midnight headlight reflections—smudges of white, red, and green on a black background—added depth to the monotone. Bungeed gaiters teamed with a brown crinkle-dyed cape with a built-in hoodie and visor seemed a versatile look, fit for nightclub mash-up and chemical cleanup alike. Would Yamamoto like to go into space? No: “I don’t like it. You can’t smoke.” Good on him.