September 11, 2005 New York
The Yohji YamamotoAdidas collaboration has certainly been a huge financial success. And though the strutting female supermodels with their big Vegas hair at first seemed at odds with the spirit of the Japanese avant-gardist (not to mention the sports-shoe giant), the show soon clarified the degree to which Yohji has been able to retain his own creative signatureeven as he is a partner in a commercial branding exercise. The demands of athletic wear seem to gel with the utilitarian aspects of his own designs. True, the Y-3 logo was liberallyand largelyladled top to toe, but the voluminous proportions and minimal color palette (black, white, navy, red) were pure Yohji. Examples: the pair of red trackpants with a dropped crotch; the elongated shorts suit; the nylon tracksuits cropped like plus fours; and the cutaway jacket and tails that appeared toward the end of the lengthy show. (The designer has always had a penchant for Edwardian silhouettes.)
Yohji often uses kitsch Japanese images as prints in his own line, and he did it here, too, on tailoring as well as denim. The ongoing march of branded merchandise eventually began to numb, but Yohji's cheerful wave from the front row at show's end suggested that it's made one man very happyand very rich.