For Spring/Summer 2012, London is calling and Y-3 is answering, in honor of the host city’s upcoming 2012 Summer Olympic games. Shown in New York’s Soho district on Sunday, September 11, 2011, as part of New York fashion week, Y-3’s collection took a tour of British style and Olympic sport, all in the essence of Yohji Yamamoto, the label’s designer.
Offering sport as a theme, Y-3 presented unique takes on Olympic style, filtered through the street aesthetic of Londontown. This meant clever renditions of classic English checks, graphic Mod-era prints, rough-and-tumble workwear, and the Union Jack. Models walked the runway to a sound track of Tokio Hotel and Miyavi, while a front-row crowd including Dwight Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Pitt, and Peaches Geldof looked on.
It’s a plaid, plaid world, and, in quintessential Y-3 fashion, this collection offered witty and inspired takes on the check pattern, from dissolving plaid prints across T-shirts and mesh tanks to sheer checked leggings and outerwear. The whimsy of these pieces was tempered with utilitarian workwear in tones of black and olive drab, as well as voluminous black coats, skirts, and shorts (worn over tights) that could only be described as signature Yamamoto. The collection placed an emphasis on modularity, with many pieces being convertible from short to long, symmetrical to asymmetrical, and so on.
London style is often both street and sweet, and Y-3’s collection veered delicately between extremes. For women, the collection offered clever interplays of hard and soft, like a leather vest with a tulle back or a sharply tailored blazer with a delicate ruffle detail running along its seams.
Volume was a key focus with oversize black poplin shirtdresses and billowing swing skirts, both of which carried a poetic elegance. For men, classic tailoring found resurgence via shirts and coats. Many pieces combined several materials, like a button-down polo with a poplin body and pique cotton sleeves, or a dramatic oversize canvas trench coat with adidas tracksuit sleeves.
Y-3 also pushed forward with the advent of new breakthrough fabrics, like a lightweight, breathable “paper” nylon and a bonded three-layer waterproof jersey.
Y-3 emphasized footwear more than ever, with a wide range of colors and styles, many of which recalled archival adidas design elements like the shell toe. In one highlight, bungee-cord detailing in vibrant tones of red and purple looped around a classic white sport shoe.
For women, the footwear hallmark was a Japanese cut-out platform in neoprene and leather. For men, a Union Jack scuba shoe pushed the London look. The Decade, a reissue of Y-3 original running shoe, also made an appearance, in tones of gold, silver, and bronze. Y-3 also presented its first-ever collection of eyewear, complete with graphic shapes and rubberized black frames in tones of black, white, and orange.
“To me, London styleis a funky elegance," said Mr. Yamamoto of the collection’s inspiration. “It’s not just downtown. It’s not just punk. It’s also polished. We tried to capture that.”