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Yohji Yamamoto


12 March - 10 July 2011

Victoria and Albert Museum, London



This exhibition explores the work of idiosyncratic Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto. Yamamoto became internationally renowned in the early eighties for challenging traditional notions of fashion by designing garments that seemed oversized and unfinished, and by playing with ideas of gender or fabrics not normally used in fashionable attire such as felt or neoprene. Fabric, he said, 'is everything'. This deep interest in textiles is at the heart of his approach to design.


Born in Tokyo in 1943, Yohji Yamamoto decided to study fashion only after he had completed a law degree at Keio University in Tokyo. In 1969, his final year at the Bunkafukuso Gakuin School of Fashion, he received two prestigious awards which allowed him to travel to Europe. After a few years working with his mother, who was a dressmaker, Yamamoto set up his first women's ready-to-wear label, Y's, in 1972 and presented his first collection in Tokyo in 1977. Following his success in Japan, Yamamoto decided to present his collection in Paris. He launched the Yohji Yamamoto label in 1981 and showed his first menswear collection, Yohji Yamamoto pour homme, in 1984.


V&A exhibition identity
Red and black boiled wool jacket and skirt
Autumn/Winter 2009 and V&A cast courts
Photograph by Nick Knight, Art Direction Peter Saville


Sleeveless white felt dress with large collar
Yohji Yamamoto
Autumn/Winter 1996-7
Juste des Vetements exhibition
Musée de la Mode et du Textile, Paris, 2005
© Courtesy of Gael Amzalag



This retrospective, experienced through a series of site-specific installations throughout the V&A and beyond, includes Yamamoto's menswear for the first time. The main exhibition space will house over 60 creations and a multi-media timeline, which reveals Yamamoto's wider creative output such as his collaborations with filmmaker Takeshi Kitano or opera director Heiner Mueller. Each carefully chosen space in the permanent galleries of the V&A explores a particular aspect of Yohji Yamamoto's work.


Allowing space between the garment and the body is of tremendous importance to Yamamoto, as it gives the wearer the possibility of inhabiting the garment naturally, without being constricted by its shape. The structure of the two sculptural white felt pieces exhibited in the Norfolk House Music Room is determined partly by the material itself and permits room between garment and body. Other works show Yamamoto's unusual pattern cutting, knowledge of fashion history, interest in military clothes and sense of humour.


In addition to the exhibition at the V&A, further aspects of Yamamotos work will also be explored at Wapping Projects, Wapping Projects Bankside and the Fashion Space Gallery at the London College of Fashion, making this retrospective an encounter between the designer, the V&A and London as a whole.

Also showing:

Wapping Project
Yohji Making Waves
12 March - 14 July 2011

Wapping Project Bankside

Yohji's Women
12 March - 14 May 2011

Fashion Space Gallery at LCF

Yohji Yamamoto at Work
June - July 2011


Visit www.vam.ac.uk, www.thewappingproject.com and www.fashionspacegallery.com for more information



Ligaya Salazar

Contemporary Programmes
Victoria and Albert Museum