What would you do when confronted with boundaries, charge ahead or turn back? "Do both," said Yohji Yamamoto backstage after his show. A habitual risk-taker, the Japanese designer certainly knows a thing or two about crossing lines. When developing his summer collection, he turned his eye towards caution and its safety markings, in particular eye-popping stripes which could be seen not only on the clothes, but also as discreet splashes of primary hues across the faces of models.
Like in nature, the vivid colors that ran down jackets and trousers – red stripes here, yellow piping there, flashes of contrast all around – were a warning that these men are not to be approached without caution. A compact offering of dark suits followed his opening salvo. Although their somber hues and reasonable cuts could pass muster in any business district, these were not salary men if the James Bond theme was to be believed. While this was mainly an exercise in cut, the designer couldn't resist splashing them with a multitude of artistry: painterly gusts of color to begin with, doodles of skeletons performing mundane tasks like walking the dog towards the end. These also brought a more cinematic mood, directing the gaze towards bright parts, conditioning the reading order of the silhouette.
Why the suit, ultimately? No doubt he had need for one, and decided to craft his own. True to Yamamoto's proclivity towards perfection, the cuts were developed not only with a streamlined look in mind, but also to allow movement. Not immediately noticeable on the front, a multitude of darts on the back defined impeccable fall and precision fit, which Yamamoto later pointed out. If not for secret agents, these outfits will do wonders for any man desiring a full range of arm motion without compromising his elegance.
Yohji Yamamoto's danger men walked the runway in quasi-normal suits. "I'm for rent" shouted a t-shirt. Coming from a designer who spent the better part of his career challenging form and function, this felt like a pretty subversive statement.