Yohji Yamamoto at LN-CC: music for runways
A big part of the experience of attending fashion shows is the music. Sometimes it’s because the choice is so unexpected and brilliant (like Marc Jacobs using the theme music to Jaws at his latest women’s show for example) or because a whole genre or era emerges as the soundtrack to an entire week of shows in a city (hip hop at the recent men’s shows in New York, post punk and early rave at the most recent LC:M). Fashion shows are fleeting, despite the huge number of people involved, the sets, the lighting and a cast of beautiful models, it’s the music that brings it all together.
Records of these rarified occasions do exist though, and in an attempt to open up one such archive, LN-CC, (Late Night Chameleon Cafe), the unique online store with a stunning physical showroom in London’s defiantly gritty Dalston, has curated a selection of music and books covering the career of the designer Yohji Yamamato in conjunction with the availability of his current collections for men and women online.
Yamamoto’s is a name that even the most resistant to fashion will have heard of, an artist with a 30 year career span, still resonant from the decade when ‘designer fashion’ really came into mainstream vocabulary. As his current collections demonstrate, he’s a designer still pushing at the boundaries of what is acceptable and has always put music at the centre of what he does, especially in terms of his catwalk shows.
The curated items available include a series of volumes on CD called ‘The Show’, cataloguing the music composed for Yamamoto’s Paris runway shows up to 2002, focusing on collaborations with the likes of Ryuchi Sakamoto and other members of Yellow Magic Orchestra. The care with which such items have been catalogued, and the renown of the musicians involved, is testament to the scale of Yamamoto’s vision over the last decades, but the availability of this archive alongside his current collections on such a contemporary portal is also evidence of a longevity rare in fashion.
If this has piqued your interest in the ongoing documentation of fashion history, an exhibition that should be on your radar is the ICA’s current Off-Site: A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now exhibition at the Old Selfridges Hotel. In this fabulously disheveled space, a vast room of individually-curated vitrines demonstrates the messy complexity of links between the art world, music, nightlife and fashion over a similar timespan as Yamamoto’s career told through such ephemera as club flyers, fashion show invites, Polaroids and show accessories.