Perhaps you can recall a time in your childhood where your mother, terror-stricken at the sheer thought of you catching a cold, refused to let you step foot out of the house unless you were engulfed in clothing to the point where mobility was futile. Well, Yohji Yamamoto sure can.
For his Fall/Winter 2016 eponymous collection in Paris, the designer set all sights on layering and mammoth silhouettes, recalling a mother piling clothes onto a small child to battle the punishing winter temperatures.
A few pieces donning phrases such as "The only woman I know is my mother" and "Help me I’m too hot" drew humorous references to the oversized (overstuffed) silhouettes that comprised the collection's first set of looks. Models, smothered by duvet-sized scarfs, strutted in buckle-fastened trousers, while long, padded fishtail parkas and overcoats were styled under ringer tees, jerseys and knitted cardigans, giving the allusion that they were ready to bust at the seams. Catwalk snowmen, if you will.
Yohji Yamamoto to Vogue.com
“It’s a kind of joke,” said Yamamoto. “The kid shouts, ‘Mother it’s cold! It’s cold!’ So she puts everything on. And at the last moment she puts a T-shirt over it, too.”
Deconstructed silhouettes, billowing layers and bondage embellishments are all common Yohji offenders, but this time around, the themes beneath them tap something slightly more sobering. Nightmarish, Picasso-esque illustrations bearing slogans such as "Let Me Eat You" and "Corporate Motherfucker" evoke a sense of childlike vulnerability, something we - and Yohji - have been incessantly reminded of given the ongoing refugee crisis. “My theme is Stand By Me,” said Yamamoto. “Because the world is such a mess. So we Stand By Me. This is the scream of teenagers. I feel like all the world, breaking down.”
Though the mountainous layering may prove a bit ridiculous if worn IRL - I can't really call upon an occasion where a parka under a T-shirt would ever be considered practical or stylish - when picked apart, Yohji's FW16 collection is actually one of his more subdued and wearable ones that we've seen in a while.