French electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre once defined Yohji Yamamoto's style like this: "For me, a woman in Yohji is like a nymphomaniac nun. His clothes are at once sensual and very ritualistic." This about a man whose reputation marks him as a designer of clothes for earnest intellectuals. This about a man whose 1998 "wedding" show featured a bridal striptease which took models from inflated Victorian crinolines down to slim-line dresses and pants. This about a man who is one of the most revered and idiosyncratic of 20th century designers. In Talking to Myself, Yamamoto has created an illustrated notebook that recounts the phases of his life. A work in progress punctuated with multiple images, Talking to Myself is the only book in which Yamamoto has become personally involved, making it a veritable extension of his own private world. In it, he "talks to himself" and with philosopher and art/fashion critic Kiyokazu Washida about himself and the objects he creates, objects that meld, blend with, and are assimilated by the person they seek to enhance. Pages marked by Yamamoto's pen and brush with Japanese ideograms, striking sketches, and abstract compositions help decipher his desire to achieve anti-fashion through fashion itself. Yamamoto's world is one of black and white symbols, a world in which color makes only a fleeting appearance.
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Yohji Yamamoto was born in Yokohama, Japan in 1943. He studied law before turning to fashion, and cut his teeth making clothing for his dressmaker mother and her friends. He launched his own company in 1974 and showed his first collection in Tokyo. In 1981 he debuted in Paris, where he has studied on a fashion scholarship in the late 60s. The only Japanese fashion designer to have been awarded the French Chevalier de L'Ordre des Art et Lettres, Yamamoto is also the recipient of the American Fashion Award. He currently lives in Japan with long-time partner Rei Kawakubo, and relaxes by playing harmonica with a band called Suicide City.
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