This season, Y-3 gets graphic with renowned art director Peter Saville, whose hyper-colorful designs form the basis of a collection inspired by digital noise and named “Meaningless Excitement.” The title is both a critique and celebration of Internet culture—its heights and depths—as well as the relentless pursuit of the next big thing. On the runway, this was clearly seen in acid-bright prints and distorted slogans, which swirled across sleek, paired-down clothing for men and women. Unveiled in midtown Manhattan on Sunday, September 8, 2013, as part of New York fashion week, the collection blended the strictness and elegance of Japanese tailoring with sartorial icons of Americana like the sweatshirt, the cargo pant, and the jumpsuit. Models walked the runway to a live drum performance while a front-row crowd including Justin Bieber, Joe Manganiello, adidas athletes John Wall, Iman Shumpert, Helen Schettini, adidas collaborator Jeremy Scott, Soo Joo Park, André Balazs, the Misshapes, and Ioecho’s Ioanna Gika looked on.
This collection served as testament to the irreverent brilliance of Peter Saville, famous for the album artwork he created for legendary bands like Joy Division, New Order, and Suede. Saville found inspiration in the vastness of the Internet, culling images and words from online forums, social media, and personal blogging platforms. He then cropped and warped these materials into an authorless and strangely beautiful pulp, which found its way across classically American styles deconstructed through Japanese tailoring.
The collection pushed the limits of authentic American sportswear by elongating its shapes and subverting the codes of its style, like a baseball jacket fused with a kimono, for example. This was clearly seen in voluminous naval polo shirts, oversize sports fleece jackets, and easy jersey blazers—for men—and trim trenches, cropped moto jackets, and floaty dresses for women. The pieces were united by a varsity color palette of burgundy and lavender and came covered in eye-popping (and often psychedelic) prints of bento boxes, teddy bears, kittens, and car parts. Saville’s digital explorations led him to the creation of a new take on snake print, formed by doubling and distorting photographs of water droplets on glass windows into a hyper-real, hyper-color canvas.
Another highlight of the collection was the pioneering of a breakthrough fabric concept: retro-reflective technical knitwear, in which seemingly simple sportswear staples in fact emit light. These pieces were embedded with hidden messages seen only under specific light conditions—like that of a camera’s flash—creating a playful, unexpected home for Saville’s rebellious graphics.
The show closed with a trio of breathtaking couture-style gowns in Yohji Yamamoto’s classic style, serving as a beautiful palate cleanser and reminder of beauty’s possibility.
Footwear built on the ready-to-wear’s car-crash of styles and symbols, blending elements of futurism and handcraft. Platform wedges proved key for women and were executed in a way that seemed handcrafted or primitive, suggesting stonecutting rather than shoemaking, and were covered in glittery hues recalling the bright paint of a vintage car.
“We find inspiration in our constantly changing world,” said Yamamoto backstage. “It never remains the same, and we never lose our endless desire to capture the new.”
Saville offered further explanation. “In the ’70s, we realized we could define ourselves through fashion, and that trend ran for 30 years,” he said. “But young people today know that they’re not living for fashion—fashion is living for them. There is a certain irony to the personality culture we’re now all a part of, which I think is empowering. It’s always a strong position when you poke a little bit of fun at yourself.”
source and photo credentials: Y-3 Press (Getty Images)