Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji Yamamoto

Born in 1943, Yōji Yamamoto is an influential and award-winning fashion designer from Japan.  He is recognized as a master in ultramodern tailoring alongside those like Madelein Vionnet. The most prestigious awards he has received for his contributions to the industry of fashion are Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon, Commandeur of Ordre des Arts des Lettres, The Ordre national du Mérite, The Master of Design Award, and the Royal Designer for Industry.

Yamamoto was raised up by his mother, who was a self-employed clothier working in a post-war Japan. He is from Tokyo and attained a graduation degree in law from Kelo University in 1966. For his further studies, he studied fashion design at Bunka Fashion College. For the next few years, he worked from the back of his mother’s boutique and in 1977 launched his debut collection, Y’s, in Tokyo,

His career as a professional designer started in 1981 from Paris. In an interview with New York Times during 1983, the designer expressed his idea of dressing women in men’s clothing. His wanted to design men’s coats for women so their body stays hidden and guarded from cold wind or men’s sight. He is constantly exploring the connection between the feminine and masculine, and creates clothes for women with an intellectual or artistic bent.

His commercially triumphant lines under his name and initials are especially trendy in Tokyo. These lines are available at Yohji Yamamoto’s flagship shops in Antwerp, Paris, New York and at premium departmental stores around the world.  Other than this, his lines include Costume d’Homme, Diffusion line, and Pour Homme. The company claimed that in the year 2007, the sales of Yamamoto’s main lines stood at $100 million/annually.

Yamamoto is known for his futuristic spirit and design sense in his clothing. He frequently creates designs that transcend the current fashion trends. The designer is wonderfully playful, conjuring up avant-garde and wild silhouettes, that are mostly in his most-liked color black. However the sobriety is interrupted by injects of ultra-bright hues.

He works in collaborations as well. In 2002, he successfully partnered with Adidas, launching the famous Y-3 label. In addition to this, Yohji has dabbled in opera and film costumes, and teamed up with Mikimoto on ethereal jewelry made from pearls. He has also worked with Hermès to make handbags. Moreover, he has designed onstage clothes for Elton John, his friend and singer. Furthermore, he has designed for people like Tina Turner, Placebo, Heiner Müller, Pina Bausch and Takeshi Kitano.

Other than this, Yohji Yamamoto was in a relationship with Rei Kawakubo, a fellow progressive fashion designer, during the 1980s and 1990s. Limi Yamamoto, his daughter, followed his footsteps and debuted in 2000 at the Tokyo Fashion Week.

In 2008, Yōji Yamamoto Fund for Peace was created to foster the development of fashion industry of China and to help mend the enmity between Japan and China. Every year, an up-and-coming Chinese fashion designer will be rewarded with a scholarship of two years to fashion college in Europe or Japan. In addition, a female and male Chinese model will be chosen to make a catwalk debut during the Paris ready-to-wear shows.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if anyone says that Yamamoto is among the most prominent Asian designers. The designer likes to be called a “dressmaker” instead of a fashion designer. He has always been fascinated by the relationship between Western couture and Japanese customs.