'Backstage' photograph by Donata Wenders, taken from an excerpt in Yohji Yamamoto's candid biography
Avant-garde fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto has never been one to favour the formulaic and the predictable. No surprises then, that his first official biography doesn't take on a chronological narrative, but rather is a sweeping force of personal retrospect told through a blend of vivid flashbacks, ditties, poems and short fiction.
The book is co-written by Al Mitsuda, who also worked with Yamamoto on his previous publications 'Talking to Myself' and 'Y's - Yohji Yamamoto'.
What sets this biography apart is the comfortably candid way Yamamoto endeavours to mix personal life recollections with his design ethos and creative processes.
Through his discussions on technique, fabric, silhouette and the like, even the quest for the perfect placement of a garment's button is recorded - 'The life or death of a garment depends on finding the point of rapture for that button. A garment may have three buttons, or six, but it is the location of that single button that is the key. The other buttons are but useful foot soldiers', Yamamoto states.
The book promises to delve into the mind of a celebrated 20th century design heavyweight, and it certainly works to remind us of Yamamoto's genius. Aptly reflecting in chapter two, Yamamoto muses, 'Here are some thoughts on vision. There is not much to the act of developing a project. The important part of a creative endeavour begins with an act of concentrated seeing, focused looking. Creativity will not flow from intellectual manipulations'.