Yohji Yamamoto Fall 1995 Ready-to-Wear

Editor’s note: This collection was originally presented on March 16, 1995 in Paris and has been digitized as part of Vogue Runway’s ongoing efforts to document historical fashion shows.

The descriptor “business in the front, party in the back” works well to describe some of the most dramatic looks in Yohji Yamamoto’s fall 1995 ready-to-wear collection, which combined masculine tailoring with frothy bustles, a reprise of a theme the designer had first explored in 1986. “The focus on the backside is typical for Eastern modes of dressing, which traditionally emphasize a woman’s elegance as ‘seen from the back,’ like in the Japanese ukiyo-eprints,” wrote a Costume Institute curator about a piece from the 1995 show.

Throughout his career, Yamamoto has deconstructed historic Western dress, or collaged elements of it, with Japanese dress traditions. And he has a 360° vision: lavishing as much attention to the backs and sides of garments as the front. With soft construction and airy materials like mesh he has been able to achieve what required stiff engineering in the 19th century.

Soft to the touch but weighty in their materiality were a group of chunky knitted coats. Web-like deconstructed knits and velvet added to the symphony of textures in a collections with a limited and mostly muted palette. At the time, the clothes were compared to widow’s weeds. Looking at them from a distance of almost 30 years, I read them differently. The combination of his-and-hers reads to me like a nuanced celebration of female power.

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