Yohji Yamamoto could inadvertently stir up a whole batch of drama in China when he stages a fashion show in Beijing’s Forbidden City next month. True, he might upstage Karl Lagerfeld’s Fendi show on the Great Wall of China, but that’s not the issue. Not everyone loves it when the government rents out historic monuments like this, but Yamamoto is risking frowny faces for a good cause, people! WWD reports:
China-Japan relations have been rocky for decades. But in an effort to defuse potential China-Japan tension over the event, Yamamoto is organizing the show in collaboration with the Chinese government and will use the occasion as a personal apology to the Chinese people for Japan’s atrocities during its World War II invasion, according to a spokesman. The event also will include the unveiling of a fellowship from the Yohji Yamamoto Fund for Peace to sponsor a Chinese designer to study in Japan or Europe for two years.
Pretty heavy stuff for a fashion show. Yamamoto is not the first to bring the catwalk to the Forbidden City. America’s Next Top Model was the last, er, organization to stage a runway show in the gardens there for its ninth cycle.
But back to our second favorite topic after fashion — foreign politics: This whole smoothing over 60 years of controversy with a fashion show sounds like an impossible feat, but if it even slightly eases Chinese-Japanese tensions, that’d be great. And if the America’s Next Top Model crew managed to come out unscathed, Yamamoto and his entourage ought to be just fine. One tip: Maybe don’t invite the Dalai Lama to sit front row. That bit of peace sadly ain’t gonna happen for a while.