Born in Tokyo on 3rd October 1943 , Yamamoto graduated from Keio University with a degree in law in 1966. His further studies in fashion design at Bunka Fashion College led to a degree in 1969 .
Yamamoto became an influential fashion designer after making his Paris debut in 1981. His commercially successful main lines, Yohji Yamamoto (women/men) and Y's, are especially popular in Tokyo. These two lines are also available at his flagship stores in New York, Paris, and Antwerp, and at high-end department stores worldwide. Yohji Yamamoto Inc. reported in 2007 that the sales of Yamamoto's two main lines average above $100 million annually.
Yamamoto is known for an avant-garde spirit in his clothing, frequently creating designs far removed from current trends. His signature oversized silhouettes in black often feature drapery in varying textures.
Yamamoto's work has also become familiar to consumers through his collaborations with other fashion brands, including Adidas (Y-3), Hermès, Mikimoto and Mandarina Duck; and with artists of different genres, such as Sir Elton John, Placebo, Takeshi Kitano, Pina Bausch and Heiner Müller.
In October 2009 the company bearing his name filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo District Court.
The brand’s aggressive spending – including expansion into European and American markets – are believed to have played a part in pushing the brand into debts of more than sixty-five million US dollars. Integral Corp was identified as the Japanese company who will finance the restructuring of Yohji Yamamoto Inc. as the brand works towards straightening out its problems and resolving debt issues.
Yamamoto's daughter, Limi Feu, has followed in his footsteps. She debuted as a fashion designer at the Tokyo Fashion Week in 2000, showed in Tokyo from 2000 to 2007, and debuted to critical acclaim in Paris in 2007.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Yamamoto was involved in a relationship with fellow Japanese avant-garde fashion designer Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garcons fame.
In 2008, the Yohji Yamamoto Fund for Peace (YYFP) was established in conjunction with the China Friendship Foundation for Peace and Development (CFFPD) to foster development of China's fashion industry and to help heal the long-standing enmity between China and Japan. Each year, an emerging Chinese designer will be awarded with a two-year scholarship to a fashion college in Japan or Europe, and a male or female Chinese fashion model will be selected to make a runway debut during the Paris prêt-à-porter season.
Yamamoto has been quoted as saying: " they must have so many angry young people. Being a fashion designer or an artist, you have to be angry." Of the fashion show he staged in Beijing in spring 2008 to launch this initiative, Yamamoto said, "It's not political. I am going to open a store here, then Chinese people will come and shop there, and then they are happy. The real art is making people happy, but also asking questions about society."
1972 Y's joint stock corporation founded.
1977 Tokyo collection debut.
1981 Pret a porter collection debut in Paris. Yohji Yamamoto line started at the same time.
1984 Yohji Yamamoto joint stock corporation founded.
1995 Designs costumes for the Heiner Müller-directed/Daniel Barenboim-conducted production of Wagner's complex opera, Tristan & Isolde.
2002 Haute couture collection presented in Paris. Relationship formed with exclusive Parisian boutiques.
2003 Opening of the Y's line flagship store in Roppongi Hills.
2003 Y-3 line and collection debut.
2003 Designs costumes for Elton John's The Red Piano show in Las Vegas.
Yohji Yamamoto POUR HOMME
Yohji Yamamoto COSTUME D'HOMME
COMING SOON by Yohji Yamamoto
Y-3 (Sportswear - collaboration with Adidas)
Y's for livi
Notebook on Cities and Clothes (1989) by Wim Wenders
Dolls (2002) by Kitano Takeshi
"Brother"(2000) by Kitano Takeshi