Yohji Yamamoto

I went to see Yohji Yamamoto‘s current show at the V&A, his first UK solo exhibition. There in a room of white light, you see the sheer simplicity of clean lines and shades of red, black and white, whispering fashion.

It isn’t the size that undermines the exhibition but rather the want of a compelling narrative. It is a little sad for the fashion designer who has taken Asia’s catwalks by storm. What I find lacking from the show is something that explains the biography or success of this designer. In what ways is he different from other designers? Apart from pointing out that he is loved by the Bunda school students as ‘an idol’ and that he has got a law degree (unusual for designers), I find little to inform or appeal to me. The blurb for the show points out that he stages his S/S 2011 menswear collection at V&A, but little else, not to mention that menswear is hardly the best selling point about his clothes.

The multimedia element is not very confidently used in the show. The video featuring interviews with Yohji’s teachers, students and friends is placed at the beginning of the route, where viewers have scarcely read or seen anything other than the artist’s profile at the entrance, and the interviews are done in a very matter-of-fact way, a rough sketch.

It is the fashion collection that saves the show. The distinct choice of fabric, thoughtful tailored cuts and the drama in the textiles and craftsmanship. It is a little hard to find the annotations for each garment though, for the catalogues seem to be placed at the far end of the room where no one looked. Nevertheless, the Guardian is right to point out that the show features some of his very interesting collaborative work with other artists or filmmakers.

A quick browse at the exhibition’s souvenirs for the show also disappoints. I went there planning to buy something, almost anything, related to Yohji, and came back home empty-handed: there were only a few plain-style tees featuring paper clip and cliche calligraphy designs, rubbers and pencils, and a few small badges and furoshiki bags. I felt like I have just walked into an H&M cross-over collection.

I would love to know if this is because of the lack of attention from the V&A or the designer himself.

Casual fashion: cheerful and carefree bag

My fashion statement:

I like cheerful, casual fashion. I think fashion should be a way of making us like ourselves better, and true to our character.

I think bags are dear to women. We need them.

I have made a carefree and cheerful bag this Spring. It celebrates the free-willed child and the longing for homely comforts in each of us.

It is designed to be small, soft and white, the way we like cuddly things around us.

If you are interested in my handmade things, contact me, and watch out for this space.

The new face for Burberry

Since Emma Watson has become the new face for Burberry Fall 2009/Spring 2010, those classic check patterned handbags have been disappearing off the shelves. Sales have gone up by 8-12% since the ad launch, and I have to admit the posters look much more appealing than run-of-the-mill fashion ads. It has to do with the unusual combination of this Harry Potter star and the British luxury label, but it has even more to do with Emma Watson’s looks which do not just complement the brand, but redefine it. Photographed by Mario Testino and directed by Burberry’s creative director Chris Bailey, the ads give special emphasis to the 19-year-old actress’s smoky eyes, well-defined eyebrows and natural hair. In other words, this set of images has more to do with defining character than beauty. The remarkable determination and haughtiness in that earthy-toned face works really well to highlight the authenticity, strength and resilient character of the brand.

The only streak of imperfection is that the co-models – Tom Guiness and Charlie France – do not look her match at all and stand there quite overshadowed by her presence.

On creating the Emma Watson look:

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/celebrity/article6464163.ece