The Y stands for Yohji Yamamoto and the 3 represents adidas’ three signature stripes. This collaborative bond between the Japanese fashion designer and the sportswear brand. The two entities come together every season to create what is known as the most innovative street style collection of this generation. Designer Yohji Yamamoto stars in the new Y-3 ‘Master of Shadows’ documentary where he reflects on his thirteen-year collaboration with adidas and how it revived his love of design at a time he was falling out of love with fashion.
“I was tired of making fancy clothing,” admits the 72-year-old Yohji Yamamoto. “Around fifteen years ago, I felt that I had come too far from the street. I was almost losing my enthusiasm for making clothing.” Luckily, that interest was rekindled when he noticed that, in cities he visited around the world, there was a growing interest in running – he decided it was “time to care for the body” and picked up the phone to the sportswear giants to propose a collaboration. By applying the monochromatic Yamamoto palette and to fluid, breathable deconstructed and reconstructed take on sportswear, together they built Y-3 into a global phenomenon.
The Y-3 ‘Master of the Shadows’ documentary reflects Yamamoto’s binary characteristics – a darkness and growing interest in his own mortality versus his interest in the life of the street. He spends a most of the film smoking, while reimagining sportswear – an irony he notes with a quiet smirk. It also explores everything from Yamamoto’s fascination with technical fabrics and space exploration to his thoughts on retirement: “Maybe, I will not have retirement life, and during working, I fall down. This is my dream.” It’s a fascinating look at an equally fascinating—and oftentimes enigmatic—figure.
Unlike Wim Wenders’ film from 1989 about the designer, which, in grainy colour, features him playing pool and hanging out, this dwells on Yamamoto’s own preoccupation with age and time and relentless dedication to his work – as he says, “maybe I will not retire in this life.”
Watch the intimate interview film with one of fashion’s most illusive Master designers, en route to Y-3’s Fall 2016 collection launch in Paris.