“I’ve had an image of this woman in my mind,” Keisuke Yoshida said on a chilly November afternoon while explaining his new collection at a showroom in Tokyo. “In my head, she’s wearing an outfit, and I can’t tell if it is a wedding dress or a mourning dress. But somehow, I know that she’s like a mother.” Last season, Yoshida’s imaginary maternal muse had been a strict, teacher-like figure with fabric clasped tight across her throat, but this time she’s come undone.
Yoshida had engineered her transformation through feminine staples, using ivory silk blouses and soft, dusty pink tailoring that bared the chest, while lapels and collars were inverted or twisted so that they poked up in awkward directions, as though they’d been pulled on in a hurry.
Old wedding dresses Yoshida had found in Tokyo were reworked into one-off corsets, lace gloves, and trousers, so that embellishments of pearls and sparkly lace glistered over hands or raced across the thigh, while broken ceramics served as earrings alongside seductive secretary specs. Best of all was a would-be office-appropriate pencil skirt, out of which peeked a silk camisole whose straps dangled upside down towards the ankles. Like more than a few collections this season, it was totally perverse, and all the more charming for it.
Those theatrically spiky stilettos and wide-brim hats could well have evoked Irving Penn, or old photographs of Parisian couture from the 1950s, but what makes Yoshida’s work feel right for the moment are the strange quirks he sprinkles in to humanize everything, offsetting any old-world glamour or preconceived notions of feminine mystique to create something delicately twisted—like those intentionally messy collars. Perhaps what it was really about was finding some softness and comfort in the chaos. That’s something all of us can aspire to.