Yohji Yamamoto offered an extraordinarily dark take on love and romance for his Valentine's Day Y-3 show. Struggling to read the word pieces that floated by on T-shirts and jackets, I caught "33 Years with You" and "33 Years in Prison" and "23 Years in Prison - 20 = Y-3." That's just a mini sample. Put it together with Paul Simon advising "50 Ways to Leave Your
Lover" on the soundtrack, and you've got an overload of mathematical misery.
Things have been a little downbeat in the world of Yohji lately, what with business shrinkage and store closures, so the bitterness had its reasons. And, even if the presentation itself was arduous, the bad mood actually made for a much more interesting Y-3 collection than usual. That was primarily because Yohji seemed liberated to inject more of himself than ever into the clothes. The asymmetry, the challenging proportions, the tortured fabrics, the ethnic Japonaiserie all echoed vintage Yamamoto from decades ago. It's hardly surprising that the most elegant pieces were the simplest: for women, a knit dress that zipped as succinctly as a catsuit, or a jumpsuit with a dropped crotch; for men, a sleeveless duffel with all the drama of a cape, or a crisp white cotton shirt with a zip front. But the most memorable aspect of the show was still that anti-Valentine's subtext. The "prisoner of love" motif was reflected in jailbird stripes and the "Marriage - Love = Run" message. For the finale, Yohji himself took on a male boxer and flattened him. Then a ballsy dame entered the arena and laid the designer out with one slug. Yamamoto is clearly feeling unlucky in love.