March 26, 2007

Watching Yohji Yamamoto play pool!

Director Wim Wenders explores issues of authenticity and reproduction briefly in his 1989 film starring the designer Yohji Yamamoto, Notebook on Cities & Clothes.
With painting, everything was simple. The original was unique, and each copy was a copy. With photography and then film it began to get complicated. The original was a negative. Without a print, it did not exist. It was just a negative. The copy was the original. But now, with the electronic and soon the digital image, there is no more negative and no more positive. The very notion of “the original” is obsolete. Everything is copy. All distinction is arbitrary.
This film “was the result of a commission from the Centre George Pompidou for a film about fashion”, which is especially fitting as authenticity and reproduction have been important themes and problems within contemporary fashion design. As Baudrillard points out in his chapter on Models and Series in The System of Objects, the perception at least is that for “clothing styles the pace of change is very rapid, and the office workers of today wear dresses derived from last season’s haute couture models”.

Ps. It's worth watching ONLY if you really love Yohji and want to see him fit clothes on models, design a collection, and talk about his fashion philosophy. It gets a little bit long at times, since it's an "experimental" sort of documentary, but still worth the $6 I paid for the DVD on Ebay!


Danielle said...

Truly only for the YY obsessed. I blogged about this movie last year - I really hated it - minimal insight, little content and awful self-referential narrative. bleh.

fashion theory said...

Yeah, it's a little boring. But in any case I thought it might be interesting for someone who is curious about the design/fitting process outside of the whole trendforecasting/copying machine.