Shoichi Aoki has been around the block, to say the least. Even at nearly 70 years old, though, the in-demand photographer has a ceaseless hunger to create, which finally brought him together with Y-3.

I say finally because, although Aoki is a longtime fan of Y-3 co-founder Yohji Yamamoto's work, he's never actually worked with the legendary Japanese designer until now.

"In the 1980s, Yohji Yamamoto sent Japan into a fashion frenzy," Aoki recalled to Highsnobiety. "I was part of that frenzy as a fan. I still remember it as a magical period of time to this day.

"Decades later, Y-3 is a brand that perfectly captures the magic of this moment – evocatively blending fashion and sportswear. This season, in particular, the look allows the wearer to experiment with their own personal style. In the context of the current fashion landscape, I really feel as if Y-3 is proposing something new and progressive."

Aoki is best known to international audiences for lensing the candid images seen in now-legendary photo periodicals like TUNE and FRUiTS, the latter of which was compiled for a couple Phaidon compilations in the early 2000s.

His photographs of mid-'90s Harajuku kids wearing explosively personal, dramatically styled ensembles continue to capture the minds of fashion-obsessed kids across the globe as representations of a bygone pre-internet era where all that mattered was going to the hangout spot wearing the craziest clothes you could find.

"There’s an inherent dynamism to this collection and therefore we wanted to work with a fairly ‘analog’ photographer who could bring an effortless feeling," Y-3's Senior Design Director Stefano Pierre Beruschi explained.

"Y-3 is all about the contradictions found in dynamic juxtapositions and Shoichi’s approach was a natural counterpoint to the collection. His vision was the perfect way to capture the inherent oppositions within the garments, footwear, and accessories, enhancing their attitude and ambiance in the perfect way."

The new designs are worn by models poised across Tokyo, straying from Aoki's preferred street style hunting ground.

"I usually shoot in Harajuku, but this time it was exciting to shoot in the chaotic streets of Tokyo," said Aoki. "We had a few interruptions which forced us to move around — but that’s the nature of shooting, and overcoming challenges is part of the fun. The location had a strong aura and the natural tension it created with the Y-3 garments was perfect."

That tension in the photographs mirrors the physics that inspired Y-3's Spring/Summer 2023 collection, which launches in-store and online January 27.

"To bring this collection to life, we experimented with the contrast between high-speed velocity and its antithesis — reverse aerodynamics, resistance, and deceleration," Pierre Beruschi said.

"The look of speed is undeniably elegant and the direction of this collection is the disruption of that. We explored the polarities between these two identities and brought them together in harmony as an image on the body."

That means blurred logos, flowing layers, and reinterpretations of staple sportswear. Varsity jackets realized in vivid colors clash against muted overcoats and coaches jackets, anchored by billowing reinterpretations of the adidas Y-3 track pant.

The sneakers ought to be similarly familiar to Y-3 adherents, rebirthing classic adidas silhouettes with textural details from the Yohji Yamamoto archives.

In place of the more futuristic Y-3 shoes that informed the 20th anniversary Fall/Winter 2022 collection, there's more emphasis on heritage; more Gazelles and less Qasas.

Aoki, the epitome of this old-school ethos, is the perfect person to capture the action.

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