Yohji Yamamoto: processes & techniques

Processes and Techniques

© Courtesy of Jeremy Stigter

© Courtesy of Jeremy Stigter

Yohji Yamamoto's custom-made textiles use a variety of traditional Japanese techniques and other more common weaves such as gabardine and tweed. All his fabrics are made in Japan to his own specifications, making them unique to his designs.

'Fabric is everything. Often I tell my pattern makers, "Just listen to the material. What is it going to say? Just wait. Probably the material will tell you something."'
Yohji Yamamoto

Fabrics

The importance of the fabric is tangible in every Yamamoto piece. From deciding the exact balance between the warp and the weft of the fabric and dyeing it the ideal hue to establishing the number of washings required to achieve the perfect balance between new and old, every fabric Yamamoto uses is specially created for him in Japan. Yamamoto's preference for exceptionally heavy fabrics and textiles not generally utilized in womenswear, high fashion or even clothing in general lends a particular slant to his sartorial language.

Detail of white cotton shirt and navy blue pleated skirt with raw edges, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1999-2000. © Courtesy of Ronald Stoops

Detail of white cotton shirt and navy blue pleated skirt with raw edges, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1999-2000. © Courtesy of Ronald Stoops

Blended wool coats and integrated bags, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1983. Rights Reserved

Blended wool coats and integrated bags, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1983. Rights Reserved

Navy blue cotton overall, Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 2003. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Navy blue cotton overall, Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 2003. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

 

Embroidery

Yohji Yamamoto often uses embroidery, both hand and machine-made, particularly for his menswear designs as can be seen in Autumn/Winter 2006-7, Spring/Summer 2009 and 2011 collections. These intricate decorations contribute to Yamamoto's underlying desire to subvert people's perceptions of what men and women should wear.

Black linen jacket with multi-coloured embroidery patches, oversized black polo shirt and cropped black linen trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 2011. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Black linen jacket with multi-coloured embroidery patches, oversized black polo shirt and cropped black linen trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 2011. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Dark navy blue and black coat with embroidered stars, white sleeveless top, beige cardigan and black trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 2006-7. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi / Feudi e Guaineri

Dark navy blue and black coat with embroidered stars, white sleeveless top, beige cardigan and black trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 2006-7. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi / Feudi e Guaineri

Black cotton suit jacket with white embroidery and black cotton trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 2009. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Black cotton suit jacket with white embroidery and black cotton trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 2009. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

 

Knitwear

The use of knitwear in Yohji Yamamoto's work often emphasises his wish to create space between the garment and the body. The heavy knit featured in both his Autumn/Winter 1998-99 womenswear and Autumn/Winter 2006-7 menswear collections, give the wearer the possibility of inhabiting the garment naturally, without being restricted by a predetermined form.

Knitted striped wool cardigan and black cotton trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 2006-7. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Knitted striped wool cardigan and black cotton trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 2006-7. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Knitted woollen jumper with manga character 'Candy', black wool coat and black cropped trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 2006-7. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Knitted woollen jumper with manga character 'Candy', black wool coat and black cropped trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 2006-7. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Off-white wool jersey dess with oversized white knitted hat, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1999-2000. © Courtesy of Ronald Stoops

Off-white wool jersey dess with oversized white knitted hat, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1999-2000. © Courtesy of Ronald Stoops

 

Shibori

Shibori is a particular method of dyeing cloth by binding small areas with either silk or cotton thread and using a wooden bucket to isolate areas to be dyed. Due to its intricate nature, it is one of the most work-intensive and expensive ways of dyeing. Yohji Yamamoto used this technique in his Autumn/Winter 1994-5 and Spring/Summer 1995 womenswear collections.

Shibori technique used on kimono-inspired dresses, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1994-5. © Courtesy of Alessandro Ciampi

Shibori technique used on kimono-inspired dresses, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1994-5. © Courtesy of Alessandro Ciampi

Detail of Shibori technique used on a kimono, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1994-5. © Courtesy of Alessandro Ciampi

Detail of Shibori technique used on a kimono, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1994-5. © Courtesy of Alessandro Ciampi

Detail of Shibori technique used on a kimono, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1994-5. © Courtesy of Gael Amzalag

Detail of Shibori technique used on a kimono, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1994-5. © Courtesy of Gael Amzalag

 

View transcript of video

Yuzen

Kyo-yuzen is a dyeing technique which originated in Kyoto in the 1700s and is traditionally used for Kimonos. It consists of over 20 steps including design, drawing, gluing, dyeing and decorating. Yohji Yamamoto uses this dyeing method frequently, often through non-traditional motifs as can be seen in his Autumn/Winter 2009-10 menswear collection.

Yuzen dyed emblem of a tiger's head and paws on inside-out pink silk coat and grey wool trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 2009-10. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Yuzen dyed emblem of a tiger's head and paws on inside-out pink silk coat and grey wool trousers, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 2009-10. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Loose grey pinstriped sleeveless suit jacket, date-jime belt - sash used to tie and hold in place under kimono and outer kimono and blue yuzen-dyed, patterned full skirt, Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 2002. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Loose grey pinstriped sleeveless suit jacket, date-jime belt - sash used to tie and hold in place under kimono and outer kimono and blue yuzen-dyed, patterned full skirt, Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 2002. © Courtesy of Monica Feudi

Detail of Yuzen technique used on a kimono, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1994-5. © Courtesy of Gael Amzalag

Detail of Yuzen technique used on a kimono, Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1994-5. © Courtesy of Gael Amzalag

View transcript of video

Screenprinting


Written to accompany the exhibition 'Yohji Yamamoto', 20 March - 10 July 2011.

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