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Yamamoto Solo

The Yohji Faithful Celebrate His Opening Night at the V&A

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Yohji Yamamoto   
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At last night's opening of the Yohji Yamamoto at the V&A exhibit in London, the jet-lagged designer kept his speech short: "I'd like to thank the Victoria and Albert Museum for honoring me by holding this retrospective of my work. And I would like to thank my mother, who is here," he said smiling down at the vast crowd. "Mom, I love you, and happy birthday."

As always at the V&A, the party celebrating Yamamoto's career was an elegant affair, with luminaries like Suzy Menkes, Stephen Jones, Ron Arad, Dougie Fields, and more raising a glass to the Japanese visionary. The exhibit itself, curated by Ligaya Salazar, was artfully executed, with 80 outfits showcasing Yamamoto's mastery of fabric, draping, and the use of dyeing techniques like shibori and Yuzen. A series of nude charcoal drawings created by Peter Saville and Yes Graphics showcased the female back, the part of the anatomy that has fascinated Yamamoto since a young age; and Wim Wenders' short film on the man, A Notebook on Cities and Clothes, played in the background. A capsule collection of accessories designed by Yamamoto left gift-shop browsers swooning.

Afterward, much of the crowd plus a few additional boldfacers decamped to the designer's Y-3 flagship opening on Conduit Street. "Yamamoto is an enlightened man; his work ethic is endlessly inspiring," Zinedine Zidane told Style.com. "I'm a retired footballer, but he doesn't even know the Japanese word for 'retired.'" Indeed, if his mom, who turned 95, is any indication, Yamamoto may be designing for many years to come. "She is one of my greatest inspirations, up there with Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga," he said. "She was a seamstress, and it was through watching and assisting her that I got the idea to design. I owe my career to her, so it's a good birthday present to bring her to London. And, she loves the cabs as much as I do."

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