my-dear-bomb

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Very rare footage of "6.1 THE MEN", the joint presentation of Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme and Comme des Garçons Homme Plus F/W 1991 in Tokyo on June 1st, 1991.

This was the first time that both designers had presented their menswear in Japan. The shows were modeled by musicians, actors, and various other creatives - even some members of Yohji’s company, if I am not mistaken.

The two men being interviewed in the video are (in order) Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi of the legendary electronic trio Yellow Magic Orchestra, with the famed Ryuichi Sakamoto being the third member.

Below is a more thorough explanation of the show’s theme and significance, followed by an extremely valuable and hilarious first hand account of the show and a certain happening backstage, told by German guitarist Ottmar Liebert who was invited to model for the show - Courtesy of Asobu from Styleforum.

A/W 1991, as far as I know, showed in Paris at the end of January 1991 and then showed again together with CdG in Tokyo on June 1st and called “6.1 THE MEN”. Still one of the most talked about and coveted collections by Yohji fans in Japan from what I can tell, many of the pieces still catch quite large sums on the second hand market. The theme was “war”, several musicians including Charles Lloyd and John Cale (who also modeled in A/W04 btw) modeled the show and apparently sang some antiwar song together at the final part of the show (the collection was created and shown during the gulf war). Some of the signature pieces was the leather jacket with women prints on the back (he referenced this in “my dear bomb” as well, when he talked about nose art of american fighter planes being pictures of “girlfriends and sexy ladies” when heading into battle), zipper jackets and Joan Miró inspired blazers.

This is a great story from Ottmar Liebert about his experience when he walked the show, well worth the read.

“In 1991 the Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, together with Comme des Garçons, was putting on the first men’s fashion show in Japan and asked me to be one of his runway models. At the time Yohji prefered to use actors and musicians over models and he has also used athletes in the past. I flew to Tokyo from Los Angeles and was picked up at the airport and taken to a very nice hotel in Tokyo, which Frank Lloyd Wright had designed in the sixties. The show took place in the Olympic swim stadium of Tokyo, where the pool had been covered by a runway stage. On each end of the runway a huge wall was erected. Behind one wall Yamamoto was set up and behind the other wall Comme des Garçons. 

Comme des Garçons : Dennis Hopper, Trumpet player Don Cherry and his son Eagle-Eye Cherry (a TV presenter in the UK and not yet the pop star), British actor Julian something or other, Keyboardist Morgan Fisher (who later produced the wonderful CD "Miniatures” to which I contributed a piece)… 

Yohji Yamamoto : Charles Lloyd, Edgar Winter, a member of YMO (one of Japan’s most famous bands, which also featured Ryuichi Sakamoto)… Yohji and his people treated everyone wonderfully. And then he made a mistake on the day of the show. 

Thinking we were all men instead of the stars some felt they were, he offered as part of the refreshments Japanese cans of beer. In Japan cans are tiny, they are cute and many of the guys probably thought that one couldn’t possibly get drunk from drinking tiny cans of beer….well, if you drink a dozen of them you do get drunk, you know! And then a British pop singer asked a French rapper to turn down the crap on his boom-box and the French guy responded with his fist, which fractured the pop guy’s jaw. While he was rushed to the hospital Yohji’s people frantically searched for somebody who could wear his clothes…. In the end one of Yohji’s French employees took his place and wore the clothes well. I felt terribly embarassed. Here we were in one of the great cities of the world, guests of a real artist, and these men had to get into a fight. What a way to repay Yohji’s kindness! But fame is fleeting and karma instant.. I never heard from the British pop star and the French rapper again…

I remember how amazed we were at the Japanese audience. Some had waited since the early morning hours and yet, when the doors opened the first in line went to the last seat instead of claiming the best seat in the house. It was almost biblical…

One thing I remember about the show itself is that Yohji, who is a guitarist himself and also produced the soundtrack, had installed sound triggers along the runway. We were invited to step on those triggers, each of which controlled a different sound that would blast over the music. Car crashes, industrial sounds, drum breaks, glass breaking, guitar riffs etc…I also remember that the Brit who was walking ahead of me was drunk or high or both and thought that the crowd’s enthusiasm was directed at him instead of the clothing…I remember three or four people helping me change into the next outfit, grabbing shirts, pulling on shoes…I remember the late Don Cherry walking around on the runway like a court jester and greeting the other Comme des 
Garçons walkers…“

Times when Fashion really seemed to be about the passion and love for the beautiful creative work of these designers. Inspiring.

as life goes on and one grows older, repeatedly there arise situations that one cannot handle according to the principles of life that one decided on in one’s youth. in my case, those principles included the decision to leave the main thoroughfare and tread instead the side roads of life as well as to accept the unspoken agreement to leave others alone in exchange for being granted my own independence. i decided to live my life according to those principles, and i have always thought that i would do in life what needed to be done, and that would be it. i continue to believe those things today.
—  Yohji Yamamoto My Dear Bomb 

This is exactly it. Also explains why I have been drawn to his designs even before I actually knew who he was or began appreciating them.

As a creative, I believe this is the calling I hear. That desire to bring out that which is formless and hidden.

It’s also why I love the work of other artists like David Lynch or Beethoven or Haruki Murakami or Taiyo Matsumoto amongst others.

They are channeling that spirit. Even if only a little bit.

Image is a page gotten from “My Dear Bomb” by Yohji Yamamoto & Ai Mitsuda

PROBLEM - accidentally bought “My Dear Bomb” in Japanese….

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
1. Start learning Japanese
2. Find someone to translate it
3. Go on an epic book hunt for the English version
4. Just keep on staring at it because it looks nice …..

I exist here, now. I’m not much interested in the future. Or, more precisely put, I do not believe in the future. To exaggerate a little, I have no faith that I will still exist tomorrow or the day after. What is more, I absolutely detest retrospection. That dislike is balances only by my desire to make my way back home as quickly as possible.
—  Yohji Yamamoto, My dear bomb
To rebel against the world’s various authorities, systems and regimes is to assume consistently the position of a minority. Somewhere along the line my sympathies were drawn to these minorities, those people on the side of resistance. These marginalised individuals did not choose the conditions into which they were born; they live trapped in the most basic human inequities and they face injustices that cannot be rationalised. When we forget that these conditions exist, we will be unable to touch people’s souls. People will remain unmoved.
—  Yohji Yamamoto
Human beings, whether young or old, have an innate desire to be understood; they build things and they speak in order to make their presence known. In this sense my work might be considered the epitome of some gaudy attempt to attract attention. My thoughts that day as I explored the streets of Rome, however, were of a different sort. Phrased in terms of a reaction to the growing environmental crisis, I felt that screaming out for ecological solutions and volunteer work would not be nearly as effective as the complete disposal of all man-made edifices, all cobbled-together explanations, and all the mountains of garbage. Or, to take it one step further, it seemed the best thing one could do for the sake of the earth would be to die on the spot. Though they pour toxic waste into the rivers, humans will only pay attention to it on the day the dead fish rise to the surface.
—  Yohji Yamamoto, “My Dear Bomb”