Y'S RED LABEL

Yamamoto protege debuts stoic new line

by Martin Webb

While his daughter Limi prepares to present her Limi Feu line at the Paris collections for the first time in October, Yohji Yamamoto has selected another protege to take her place on the Tokyo runways.

Michiko Suzuki joined the Japanese fashion maestro’s firm as a pattern-cutter shortly after graduating from Bunka Fashion College in 2000, and five years later was appointed as the designer of a new brand called Y’s Red Label.

Until last week, when she staged her first catwalk show at the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery (right), Suzuki had remained anonymous, but with this dark show combining military-inspired pieces with bridal veils and train skirts, she has stepped into the limelight.

Asked to explain the theme of the show, titled “Just Married,” Suzuki said that because of the perpetual biannual cycle that rules the fashion world, this debut symbolized a till-death-do-us-part vow to the new brand.

Explaining that her target was a strong woman in her 30s or 40s, she added that the dark, imposing mood that underpinned the lineup of billowing navy pants, crisp white blouses and crystal-studded dresses was all her own conception and owed little to the moody oeuvre of her illustrious employer.

Asked by The Japan Times why she had chosen to unveil her work in Tokyo, rather than Paris, where all other Yohji Yamamoto lines are shown, she said, “Lots of people say that Tokyo is not genki (lively) in terms of fashion, but I wanted to prove them wrong.”

While hardly a “lively” show, this should prove to be must-see collection in Tokyo’s increasingly barren schedule.