It's almost ten years since Yohji Yamamoto first partnered with Adidas, and in doing sowed the seed for the evolution of the fashion-sportswear fusion Y-3 line. However, in a sense, his Autumn/Winter 2010 collection was a return to the roots of the range - neither wholly commercial nor wholly conceptual, but a skillful meshing of the two. And in a season where an athletic aesthetic seems to be influencing designers old and new, Yamamoto was well-placed to reap the rewards of his considerable experience. Staged as a big-budget spectacle in an Olympian space and with a laser light show worthy of any stadium extravaganza, Yamamoto overwhelmed us with product: an inky parade of peacoats, greatcoats, hooded jackets, shrunken fleece bombers, sometimes all layered together at once. There were shades of classic eighties Yamamoto in the plays with proportions and draping, likewise the washed-out Black Watch tartan sweatsuiting and flashes of neon colour at waistband. The Adidas triple-stripe was given a full work-out with a trio of straps fastening mid-calf trenches, ribbon stripes banding cuffs and, naturally, the footwear. Reconfigured Stan Smiths had contrast shell toecaps for the boys, while the girls marched out on neon orange, purple and black wedges with savagely pointed toes. Perhaps it was Yamamoto's recent financial problems that caused him to pull out all the stops in this most recent presentation, but it was striking how thoroughly Yohji each and every piece felt - as if Yamamoto were proving his commercial mettle in an increasingly crowded market-place. Certainly there were many must-haves for any fashion or sportswear fan in this show: a litany of the very many looks (possibly a few too many) would be exhausting rather than exhaustive, but a series of letterman jackets reworked into swishy capes, dipping at the back and with ribbed waistband details in the front, were standout. That said, they were pipped to the post as the show's highlight by Yamamoto himself engaging in jokey combat with a model tag-team.
Perhaps it was Yamamoto's recent financial problems that caused him to pull out all the stops in this most recent presentation