Y-3 YOHJI YAMAMOTO
The avant-garde Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto has said, “dirty is good.” These three words capture the eccentric designer’s love of a dark and disheveled — but dapper — look. A master tailor with a distinctive style, Yamamoto deconstructed conventional silhouettes with his ready-to-wear company, Y's, and pioneered one of the first collaborations between luxury fashion and sportswear by way of the Y-3 collaboration with Adidas. He continues to create everything from coats and jackets to day dresses and evening gowns.
Yamamoto was born to a World War II widow in 1943. By the time he was 26, he had a law degree from Keio University and a fashion degree from Bunka Fashion College. In 1969, he won two Japanese fashion awards — the Endo Award and the Soen Award — which included a round-trip ticket to Paris.
It was in the French capital that Yamamoto realized the fashion world was changing. A casual aesthetic was replacing formal and classical sensibilities. He soon set up his first label — Y’s — and embarked upon designing heavy-duty sportswear.
Yamamoto launched women’s collections in 1977 in Tokyo, in 1981 in Paris and in 1982 in New York. Their pieces loosened the traditional female clothing silhouette in favor of shapes more typical of menswear: simple cuts, minimal details and generous proportions. In 1983, the New York Times wrote, “Yohji Yamamoto may stand barely five feet tall, but his effect on world fashion in the last two years has been enormous.”
In 1984, he made his first foray into men’s fashion under the Yohji Yamamoto label. In 1994, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture and, in 2002, he became the creative director of Adidas’s Y-3.
Yamamoto’s fashion has been the subject of exhibitions around the world, including “May I help you” in 2002 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, “Correspondences” in 2005 at the Gallery of Modern Art in Florence, Italy, and “Painting and Weaving Opportunity” in 2017 at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery. In 2017, he received the DFA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Find vintage Yohji Yamamoto Adidas Y-3 clothing and accessories on 1stDibs.