Well, that was quite something now, wasn't it? Yohji Yamamoto's sublime poem of a show made you reflect. On fashion yes, but on life too and how we bulldozer through it. ‘I think you'll like this’, one of the lovely PRs told me outside. It felt like balm to the soul and if you think I'm exaggerating well, you had to be there I guess.
Take the way it started, for example, when in near-complete darkness a model quietly stepped out to no music save a few seemingly random key strokes of a piano. False start! - we all thought and stirring uncomfortably in our seats. The photographers started shouting at the model to stop, for the lights to come on. Then the next model followed, the lights brightened a little, the piano played for a little longer and then the next and it slowly dawned on us that here was someone eschewing conventionality because he had something to say and we needed to listen. It was the equivalent of a parent clapping suddenly to grab the attention of little kids on a sugar high. Long sheaths of fabric were draped and shrouded around the body, over long skirts, whereas shirts and jackets had billowing kimono sleeves that seemed monastic in their exaggerated volume, particularly a long black coat with a Vatican red lining.
Between the first giant crinoline 'dress', covered in black 'rain-splattered' chiffon, and the second with a silver cover, its foundations twisted in knots, Yohji showed some perfectly cut black tailoring, some in velvet, the blazer snug, the trousers wide, the shirt long and loose, followed by ribbed knit dresses, long and lean. A trio of monk-like blanket looks preceded the finale, in sage, blue and clay but it was all about those last four crinoline structures that somehow pulled at the strings. What was it about them that was so effective? The way they managed to survive the elements, the care with which the models carried them along, their gloved hands neatly clasped at the front or maybe it was a reminder that we carry our lives with us wherever we go so we better be a little more graceful. A little French girl perched next to me kept gasping and pointing at them and I wholeheartedly shared her awe.