THE STORY SO FAR
THE STORY SO FAR
Photograph by Koichi Inakoshi
To celebrate and mark the 30th anniversary of Yohji Yamamoto’s arrival on the Parisian fashion circuit, the V&A will stage a retrospective of his work which opens on the 12 March 2011. This blog will offer an insight into the curation and preparation of this exhibition. Over the next 6 months, we will share key moments from the different layers of work that will make this exhibition happen.
Of course, we have not just started to work on this exhibition so there is a fair bit to catch up on. Over the next weeks, I will be posting episodes of the story so far - from the moment the exhibition was first discussed, why the V&A is staging an exhibition on Yohji Yamamoto to the exhibition design concepts and object selection which are currently in discussion. Almost two years work-in-progress!
Why? Who? How?
When discussions first started about potentially embarking on an exhibition project on Yohji Yamamoto, the first consideration had to be why him? To us the question was easily answered: described as a ‘designer’s designer’, ‘a Poet of Black’ and the ‘King of Cool’, Yohji Yamamoto’s challenging designs have questioned the need to reveal and exaggerate the female form. Instead they presented the possibilities of folding, draping and manipulating textile and established black as a colour to wear at any occasion. Yohji Yamamoto first showed in Paris in 1981, after 9 years of successfully running his clothing range Y’s solely in Japan. Over the last three decades he has continued to advance his design language through his main line as well as through his various collaborations (in film, photography and performance as well as with sportswear giant adidas). It made sense to explore the possibilities that such a extensive body of work would offer to an exhibition here at the V&A.
Then there was his illustrious history of showing his work in previous exhibitions. Most interestingly through the exhibition triptych that was staged in 2005 and 2006 at the Galeria d’Arte Moderna of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy; the Musée de la Mode et du Textile in Paris, France and MoMu in Antwerp, Belgium respectively. In this series of exhibitions, Yohji Yamamoto and the curators explored the process of inspiration, design and consumption in beautiful and imaginative ways.
So what would make the exhibition at the V&A different?
In many ways, this exhibition will continue in the spirit of the Triptych. It is conceived as a site-specific installation rather than a chronological or even thematic retrospective look at Yamamoto’s work. In contrast to the previous exhibitions, this show will have a central core in one of the exhibition spaces and spread out in carefully chosen permanent collections galleries of the V&A. Each space will take its own meaning within the subtle narrative of the exhibition which explores the many corners of Yohji Yamamoto’s design world. For the first time and as a nod to London’s own sartorial history, Yamamoto’s menswear collections will be presented.