(Tokyo, 1943- )
Born in Tokyo and a graduate of the prestigious Keio University and Bunka Fashion College (Bunkafukuso Gakuin), Yamamoto is a keen harmonica player and fan of Bob Dylan. In 1970, he began designing women's clothing. Two years later, he set up his own company, Y's and he showed his first collection in Tokyo in 1977. His 'pauperism' style attracted a growing number of followers and he finally achieved greater recognition after showing his spring/summer collection in Paris in 1983.
Yamamoto's use of a simple palette - black, navy and white - with occasional splashes of color and a style that is at once sophisticated and plain-looking creates clothing for both men and women that instantly become timeless classics.
"People of my generation were ripped off by economic success: during our youth, the industry kept pumping out new products we couldn't believe in, because we knew, come tomorrow, they would be out of style. So we became the first generation to wear second-hand clothes."
Yamamoto is the only Japanese fashion designer to have been awarded the French Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres. He was the winner of the Mainichi Fashion Grand Prize in 1986. Today, his company earns more than a hundred million dollars a year and creates, apart from his Y line of clothing, opera costumes and ballet sets for some of the most important companies in the world.