For most of his lengthy and impressive career, Yohji Yamamoto has been aligned with design's avant garde: influential, admired and respected, but never what you might call a big commercial success. Then, a few years ago, footwear giant Adidas asked Yamamoto to design some sneakers. And to almost everyone's surprise, the limited edition (50,000 pairs worldwide) sold out in no time. So earlier this year, Adidas cemented its relationship with Yamamoto, naming him creative director of a new apparel division, Y-3, that the company claims has the potential to become a $300 million business.

For the label's debut collection, Yamamoto sent out men's and women's looks that focused on sober, simply cut, well-proportioned separates, all ornamented with some variation of the Adidas three-stripe logo. While these clothes might have an athletic heritage, they're not all meant for the body perfect; trousers were fluid, T-shirts and dresses grazed the body and jackets hung loosely from the shoulders. If Adidas's predictions come true, the mainstream is about to get a lot better looking.