Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Yohji Disappointment

I have a bit of a confession to make, over the years I have always assumed that I love Yohji Yamamoto's work, it was because I see each season separate from the rest along side other giants from japan such as Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo amongst others. So in essence I have never really focused specifically on his oeuvre in isolation. For the post I went back 10 years, I wanted to go back to 1995 which was when he produced his exquisite kimono inspired gowns, later his focus was more on tailoring and now I see it as a whole narrative it is a very Gothic almost Victorian silhouette. Not overly flattering, you would have to be very tall to carry off much of these outfits, but up close and personal the tailoring is amazing and for this alone he is worthy of his reputation but now I can see the broader picture I can't say I am the fan I thought I was.
Truly, I searched long and hard to fill this post with images, they were all so gloomy and shroud like, with a Dickensian feel running through most of the last 10 years.

That said the details are stunning

apart from the buttons, seriously the buttons were all cheap plastic, how can you pay so much attention to the detail of cut and not think a little more creatively about the buttons?

So the exhibition.
Because it was coming on the back of the superb 30 year retrospective that has just finished at the Barbican I assumed it would further elaborate in detail his thought process. What I wanted was to see more of the clothes and the philosophy behind them.
I am a big fan of text married with the displays, I wear glasses, so constantly peering over them flitting between tiny printed matter and then looking up hurts my eyes, and I know I am not alone in that. I also expected to see the relationship between his clothes and the photography from his catalogues, since he has worked with some amazing photographers over the years and has really upped the ante where catalogues are concerned.
Instead I walk in behind some gormless idiot waving his press pass, he is feted with a press pack whilst I a paying visitor get a broad sheet with tiny writing and numbers which I have to match to the exhibits.
On entry your feet are made to stick to the floor, I thought someone had spilt Coca Cola, so tried to side step it, you have to walk past an attendant who neither smiles or greets you, or even bothers to explain why your feet are suddenly glued to the floor. Inside the room, just the one, you are greeted by a horrible industrial bank of scaffolding, to the right a dark corridor with tiny monitors looping his shows, to the left a retina burning bright light bounces off the shiny white plastic floor (now we know the tacky back was to keep the floor clean...it was failing miserably) the clothes are scattered across room with no explanation, the walls are bare.
Having been impressed by both their Versace retrospective and Vivienne Westwood's nothing quite prepares you for this disaster of curating. Presenting the clothes is itself an art form as both Liberty's and Selfridges windows illustrate to perfection. This was like the slap dash efforts more commonly seen at Harvey Nichols, low on budget, low on ideas and lacking any sensitivity to the paying public. It was an insult to my intelligence,
The quote above comes from the COS catalogue it is well worth a read and makes me very keen to try and get to Antwerp to see this MoMu for myself, someone at the V&A should read it.
I have since discovered the photographs are on show at The Wapping Project Bankside They should be with the clothes at the V&A

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