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Yohji Yamamoto: Back in black

  • Story Highlights
  • Yohji Yamamoto is known for his distinctive black, minimalist style
  • He has been a leading fashion designer over the last three decades
  • He opens the doors to a model-casting session for the first time
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One of the world's greatest fashion designers, Yohji Yamamoto has helped blaze a trail for Asia over the last three decades.


Yohji Yamamoto brought masculine styles to the catwalk, rejecting traditional ideas of sexiness.

He brought geometric minimalism to the catwalk in the late 1970's while other designers focused on flamboyance, and if his name and clothing has become a brand over the last 30 years, for the man himself, it is always "creation first".

"I had no intention of working in the mainstream and I've stated my objection against the main currents of fashion for the last 27 years," he told Anjali Rao.

His firm standpoint on style, and his designs, has brought popularity with an international chain of clothing outlets and the courting of celebrities and companies -- he designed Elton John's wardrobe for his latest world tour and has collaborated with Adidas to produce the Y-3 street wear range.

Talk Asia toured one of his ateliers and showrooms in Tokyo, before moving to Paris for Fashion Week, where Yamamoto opened the doors to a model-casting session for the first time.

While successful, his design house is far removed from the mega-brands of some labels such as Dior or Gucci, and he has stuck to his ethos throughout.

"I have no intention to deal with a market first and put my creation into it. I create my clothes at will and that will change the market -- that's what I hope to see.

"Independent fashion houses are in an extreme minority. Most fashion makers have to sell accessories, there are only one or two or three that are successful just selling clothes. This is the era that clothes cannot sell."

Show times

Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore and Taipei

Saturday, May 10: 07.30, 2300
Sunday, May 11: 0830, 2100

Bangkok and Jakarta

Saturday, May 10: 0630, 2200
Sunday, May 11: 0730, 2000


Saturday, May 10: 00.30, 15.00
Sunday, May 11: 02.30, 15.00

Known for his distinctive black, minimalist style, he discussed how he perceives his own impact on fashion and his unique philosophy: "Civilized humans must wear monochrome. There is a minimum etiquette of fashion that you must not upset other people's vision . It is wrong to think that standing out is a good thing."

"I prefer to be behind the scenes -- that to me is a fashion designer."


And behind the scenes, Yamamoto practices karate to relax -- at black belt level, or course -- and recreating action through his designs.

"I'm very much interested in cutting, making forms, silhouettes, making motion; that's why I forget the color."

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