At the V&A

Peter Campbell

In a big rectangular gallery at the V&A (until 10 July) 63 dummies stand in loose groups, males labelled with an M and a number, females with a W. Each supports a garment designed between 1983 and 2011 by Yohji Yamamoto. You wander among them like a guest at a party, a garden party perhaps: the light is clear and bright. You can get as close as you like to examine fabric and stitching and to look at backs and fronts. There are frocks and jackets, shirts, skirts, shifts, suits and coats showing an astonishing variety of techniques, materials, influences and inventions. There is nothing of the shop window about the arrangement. Yamamoto has reservations about museum installations but I have never been among garments mounted on mannequins that felt so alive and so strongly suggested absent bodies.

The full text of this exhibition review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in