Sara K. James
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Yohji Yamamoto's Life as a Designer Draws Parallels to Batman

You’re probably already familiar with Grailed’s online menswear marketplace by now, but the start-up has recently dipped its toe in the editorial waters with a new blog, titled Dry Clean Only. The vertical offers shortform posts grouped under the Surfaced title; user spotlights; street-style round-ups; and in-depth essays written by fashion business insiders and tastemakers, called Master Classes. Its latest edition puts the magnifying glass on none other than the Man in Black himself, Yohji Yamamoto. The profile provides some insight and context into the designer’s biography and influences, while also including some valuable tidbits and excerpts from Yamamoto’s biography, My Dear Bomb, and a poignant parallel between the narratives of the Japanese designer and that of the Caped Crusader, Batman.

Check out an excerpt from the piece below and be sure to read the whole essay here.

Batman’s origin story is subject to retcons over the years in order to keep the character relatively young. But the nuts and bolts are always the same: One night, after a movie (usually depicted as a Zorro film), Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife, Martha, are gunned down by a mugger during a robbery gone awry. Their son, Bruce Wayne, copes with this personal tragedy by dedicating his life to pushing himself to intellectual and physical perfection, ensuring that crime will never happen again in his beloved Gotham City.

Yohji Yamamoto is driven by a similar personal tragedy. Born in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Prefecture in 1943, his father, Fumio, was drafted to fight against the Allies in World War II. Though the specific details are unclear, his death notification said he died fighting in the mountainous Philippine region of Baguio. In the aftermath, Yamamoto’s mother, Fumi, attended Japan’s prestigious Bunka Fashion College, whose graduates include Junya Watanabe, Jun Takahashi and Nigo, and became a dressmaker.