The first fall offerings from Yohji Yamamoto were six soft, multicolored, printed tailcoats, laid out on the floor of a freezing school hall. Perhaps the result of a journey to Tibet, Uzbekistan, or somesuch folkloric pilgrimage? "No," he said laconically. ¿I just wanted to prove I can do color.¿ The patterns¿flowery, mini-paisley mixes, ink jet-printed on double-faced flannel¿suggested, he said cheerfully, ¿a cheap hotel.¿
Then in filed a Yamamoto army of quiffed rockabillies, picking up the coats and shrugging them over layers of printed tunics and slouchy cuffed trousers in a nice m¿l¿e of dusty blues, violet, ocher, and cinnamon. Having made the color point, Yamamoto reverted to his beloved all-black avant-garde cutting, this season scissored into an Edwardiana-meets-rocker kind of elegance.
Variations on high-collared cutaway coats, shown with cropped pants and biker boots, have a lanky swagger. While some are hung with chrome chains and others come with snowflake-knit sleeves, the most sophisticated tailoring is paired with bunchy velvet bows, spilling artfully from the front. Another experiment (a subtle dig at the alarming proliferation of must-have bags, maybe?) places big leather pockets at the front of skewed pea coats, receptacles roomy enough to allow a woman to roam the world hands-free.
The best came last: a striking sequence of sweeping greatcoats and capes with layers of collars and oversize brass and chrome buttons. Part military, part highwayman, the variations include a tiny-waisted version, its huge collar trimmed in white sailor braid, and a trench whose detail is picked out in red patent leather. The effect¿gutsy and chic at the same time¿reveals Yamamoto leading fashion¿s forward march once more.