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Y-3's Rain Dance

Emily C. Gyben
September 09th, 2007 @ 6:03 PM - New York

It may have been sunny and clear in New York on Saturday afternoon, but it was pouring rain on Yohji Yamamoto's Y-3 Spring 2008 show. Located in an empty, covered parking garage in Chelsea, soundtrack thunder boomed and artificial lightning flashed while water hit tin roofs above. Even the runway had been hosed down prior to the show.

Despite Y-3's elaborate setup, the show is rarely more than glorified sweatpants. A collaboration between Adidas and Japanese designer Yamamoto now celebrating its fifth anniversary, it's a few levels edgier than Adidas on its own, but nowhere near the avant-garde fashions that Yamamoto produces independently.

A somber ensemble of black sweatpants, tank and trench started the show, attended by Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J, actress Mena Suvari and Leigh Lezark of the Misshapes, but not all that followed was so dark and dreary. Bright separates in crayola reds, blues, yellows and greens brought a lightness to the spring collection. Windbreakers and rain slickers seemed appropriate in light of Y-3's homemade weather. Men's pants were pegged at the ankle – a few were so narrow that they reminded us of fall's forecast that the next big thing in menswear might be leggings.

After a stretch of preppy tennis-appropriate pieces, the collection morphed into dressier streetwear looks: denim, bandeau tops and sculpted, cutout wedge heels. His signature drape-y layers made appearances, and he gave a nod to a current high-fashion trend with a series of feather-trimmed long skirts, dresses and tanks.

Throughout the show, it was easy to remember that, more so than say, Rodarte, Y-3 is a saleable, wearable brand. Pants and shirts came down the runway in Y-3 prints, and track jackets and tees were boldly branded with "JAPAN Y-3" or "Y-3 2008." It may be by Yohji Yamamoto, but they're still just sweatpants.

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