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September 20, 2008updated Jul 29, 2015

Yohji Yamamoto Rue Cambon Boutique Opening

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

A new Yohji Yamamoto boutique will open in Paris in Autumn 2008. At the corner of rue Cambon and rue du Mont Thabor, the new 600 square meter Yohji Yamamoto flagship, designed by architect Sophie Hicks, will house Yohji Yamamoto Women’s and Men’s collections. The three-level corner façade will reflect the signature concept of Yohji Yamamoto boutiques: a white box. While preserving the original moldings, the outside is whitewashed: a subtle update to the historical exterior. The interior architecture functions to insulate the shopper from the bustling street outside. Upon entering one is transported into a “uniquely luxurious, comfortable and aesthetically Japanese” environment, says architect Sophie Hicks.

The location itself is a nod to fashion history. Known as rue “Mademoiselle Chanel,” rue Cambon is world renowned for a thoroughly luxurious and Parisian shopping experience. Yohji Yamamoto has said that rue Cambon has always had a place in his dreams.

The new address marks the return of an exclusively Yohji Yamamoto shop, offering only the Yohji Yamamoto Femmeand Homme collections. Personal clothing racks are available for perusing in the greatest ease and comfort. All three levels of the shop are accessible by elevator. The ritual of packaging purchases is displayed on a long white table: a singular touch of refinement and a nod to traditional Japanese custom. A special wood panelling lines the entrance wall, suggesting the welcoming atmosphere of a traditional Japanese inn. Made in Japan and crafted from the thinnest of chestnut veneers, the panels echo bird-like shapes and lead the visitor into the main space.

An underscored flaunting of commercial efforts, the main floor functions as a gallery of sorts: at once calm, intimate and serene. Visitors are enveloped by elegant spaciousness that spans the 195 square meters. The vastness of the space was conceived as a special luxury to allow guests to truly experience the universe of Yohji Yamamoto. It is more an interactive installation of sculpture and Yohji Yamamoto’s clothing, each giving the other new depth and meaning. Seamless white mannequins seem to disappear, giving an unreal and ethereal sensation of the clothing floating in air, referencing Yamamoto’s constant interest of the space between clothing and the body.

Japanese Shojigami (shoji screen paper) crafted into bird-like shapes are suspended in the windows from the ceiling to the basement, creating an opaque sculpture wall of light and shape which allows the passer-by a glimpse of the clothing displayed beyond. Two curving staircases punctuate the ground floor. The Menswear collection is housed in the basement, a 110 square meter area. The Shojigami extend to this floor filling the space with atmosphere. At 145 square meters, the second floor houses the Yohji Yamamoto Women’s collection.

Matte white, an emblematic and impalpable color permeates the space: the white Shojigamito the white concrete speckled with white marble floors, to the fluid shaped staircases of the same material, white curtains concealing the cashiers, the long white table for packing purchases, and matte white subtle furnishings. The White Box metaphor connects all Yohji Yamamoto boutiques since 2007; the Y’s shop at 25, rue du Louvre and Y-3 at 47, rue Etienne Marcel. The White Box at 4, rue Cambon is indicative of the dynamic development of the brand following the 1000 square meter shop in Antwerp in the ModeNatie building, which opened in October 2007, and the 120 square meter shop on Gansevoort Street in New York, which opened in February 2008.

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