June 29, 2014 Paris
Yamamoto, 70, translated the experience into a nostalgic yet accessible surf theme, merging a modern understanding of the sport with a vintage fifties vibe. To a soundtrack that alternated between ukulele strains and more stock rock, models ambled around surfboards and sun-faded wood planks in Yamamoto's trademark black-on-black cottons and nylons, nicely infused with bright floral prints and sunset colors.
In his main line, Yamamoto has recently begun experimenting with shock-fluoro brights in a welcome turnabout, but for Y-3 he kept the color pops to tropical flowers, such as hibiscus and bird-of-paradise, in crowded compositions of pink, purple, and yellow. These used to be called Hawaiian prints, as in Hawaiian shirts, which were all the rage in the fifties. Here, they thrived in a modern, sublime way—as a long slicker, for example, or on slip-ons and skinny ties. Other colors made the cut, too, like a soothing sea-foam green. And who'd deny ivory linen makes a superb accompaniment to matte black?
Yamamoto is occasionally called out for not expressing his Y-3 collections more cerebrally, like in his eponymous line, and it's true that the Y-3 logo and Adidas three stripes were fairly ubiquitous here. But it's worth remembering that at Y-3, he's working with a massive, multifaceted sports label with global branding needs that go far beyond the niche and abstract. This outing was an overture to that market, and in those terms, it worked great.