The final look at Yohji Yamamoto was a black T-shirt printed repeatedly with the phrase "This is me," paired with a skirt that looked like it might have been fashioned from a clear yellow pool raft. The message was somewhat obscure. Was the iconic designer, for whom business has been a tough slog this year, making a joke about keeping his head above water?
The show had started off more solemnly, with Yamamoto's signature deconstructed Edwardiana in all black with a hint of ragamuffin. Models had near-Kabuki white faces and matted hair. There was something funereal about their pace in clomping combat boots. When suddenly the music turned to funky guitar, flashes of a psychedelic print appeared in high-top sneakers, leggings, and inside the waistband of a paper-bag pleated skirt. Yamamoto flipped back and forth a few times, alternating "Ave Maria" with "Purple Haze." In one rocker moment, a panel of that eye-popping print extended from a dress and wrapped around the shoulders like a priest's vestment. Another look recalled Madonna, with punky leggings under a shredded skirt with a black bustier and rosary. The religious undertone made sense if you were aware that the designer was paying homage to Jimi Hendrix, a rock god deserving of a temple.
Today's outing may not have scaled the heights of sheer beauty and emotional resonance that Yamamoto is capable of reaching, but the designer's defiant individuality is still intact. Perhaps that was what he was getting at with the slogan tee.