From the first outfit in this strong collection—a long, lean coat-dress in brilliant fuchsia, fastening to one side with giant chiffon bows in various shades of pink—it was clear that Yohji Yamamoto had a statement to make. Building femininity into his severely chic signature tailoring, he used chiffon and organza to romance the clothes: chiffon for the streamers that laced up the back of one jacket like the fastenings of a corset; organza for the ruffles that buoyed out the peplum of another. Some tailored pieces that seemed to be crafted from light woolens proved, on closer inspection, to have been constructed from mille feuilles layers of chiffon instead.

That shock of color in the beginning soon segued into the funereal black-on-black effects that showcase the operatic impact of Yohji's bold silhouettes, with their elaborate portrait necklines, spaniel's-ear collars, or overscale asymmetric button fastenings. But then the rockabilly soundtrack paused for dramatic effect, and he sent out asymmetric pieces in layered solid-color chiffons that sandwiched an unexpectedly psychedelic swirling Lava lamp print. Eugene Souleiman's elaborate hair constructions somehow melded Teddy boy quiffs with the messy cottage loaf of the put-upon Edwardian cook, as well as offering a clue to the designer's eclectic vision: a biker toughness out of The Wild One mixed with a belle époque softness that owed more to the heroines in Death in Venice.

Evening looks had all the drama of a midcentury René Gruau fashion sketch—and seemed drawn with the same bold sweep of that artist's Japanese ink brush. True to Yohji's theme, sweeping skirts or romantic coat-dresses with billowing 1830's sleeves were ignited with Elvis-in-Vegas embroidery of chandelier crystal drops—and the gleaming metal rivets from a biker's prized leather jacket.