Sprinting ahead of the rest of the pack by showing his Fall/Winter 2003 ready-to-wear line during couture, Yohji Yamamoto took a few graphic, classic motifs and skewed them with his vision of what he calls "couture that could be worn on the street." Working mainly around black-and-white houndstooth fabrics, varying from bold checks to finer menswear wools, he used this collection to merge masculine tailoring and feminine shapeliness into layered silhouettes. The result: daywear with a soupçon of the Dior-esque '50s and a dash of punkish detail, cut with Yamamoto's original twists on pattern and structure.

Generous checked coats with voluminous sleeves hugged the waist and ended in shaggy fringe. Skirts pleated like kilts came layered over punky leggings in print chiffon and flat, pointed leather boots. Large checked scarves were wound around necklines and trailed off with a certain Parisian dash. Yohji's enduring tastes for Edwardiana and rocker styling showed up too, in sculpted peplum jackets, trenches and black leather motorcycle jackets. But it was the leanest, simplest pieces, like a slightly padded black jacket wound with a matching scarf, that proved his argument for clothes that can walk coolly off the runway and out onto the sidewalk.