The poet of black, Yohji Yamamoto — or should he be called the king of collabs? From random artist partnerships to ongoing adidas collaborations, Yamamoto is seemingly never not working with another brand. A Yohji Playboy collection? Sure!
Look at what Yamamoto’s done in the past few years alone. Anime! New Era! Phone cases!
Ever since Yamamoto emerged from bankruptcy over a decade ago, the Japanese designer has been collaboration-crazed. Even his runway shows are abetted by new partnerships.
Which ain’t a complaint from me, BTW: Yamamoto’s menswear is more adventurous than it ever was in the old days. I’m sorry purists, but I’m here for it.
This brings me to this amusingly odd Playboy collection created for Yamamoto’s S’YTE diffusion line.
Only available on Yohji Yamamoto’s website, S’YTE is an affordable selection of Yamamoto staples intended for daily life. Signature blazers, shirting, and balloon pants, all realized in less austere fabrications and more approachable prices.
On July 21, S’YTE will launch this Playboy collection, which mashes up the aforementioned Yamamoto designs with the graphic flair of illustrated Playboy pin-ups done decades ago for the magazine by artist Harumi Yamaguchi.
It kinda works, with Yamaguchi’s stylized renderings illustrated across short-sleeved shirts and T-shirts akin to the archival Yamamoto jackets painted with similarly realistic pin-ups.
The difference being that the S’YTE garments are available for no more than ¥29,700 (approximately $215) and sought-after Yamamoto grails demand four-figure resale.
S’YTE’s 10-piece Playboy capsule is a little less successful when it simply juxtaposes Yamamoto branding with the iconic Playboy bunny logo — something about it feels a little too crude for Yamamoto’s graceful aims.
On the other hand, like Playboy itself, Yamamoto’s relationship with his women subjects is complicated
In interviews, Yamamoto is candid about “deserting” his wife, the mother of designer Limi Feu, and direct about how he wants women to dress.
“I couldn’t stand designing bitch’s clothing,” Yamamoto said in a NOWNESS video, complaining about the type of women he used to create clothing for prior to founding his own label.
This Playboy collection is almost designed by a member of Yamamoto’s design team, rather than the 78-year-old himself but, nevertheless, it’s a reflection of his own complex personality, one that’s certainly not up to contemporary tastes.
However, I can’t imagine that Yamamoto, who has long been utterly indifferent to the greater whims of popular culture, could care less.