Maison Yoshiki: The Fashion Way Into a Rock Star’s Lifestyle

MILAN — The son of kimono merchants, Yoshiki Hayashi’s way into fashion was written in his roots but at age 10 music called him first, paving the way for a career as the cofounder, drummer and pianist of Japanese heavy metal band X Japan.

As a musician, Yoshiki, known by his first name, has always leveraged the power of clothing to convey messages, he told WWD. “Since the very beginning of my career, but also since I was very young, fashion has always been my communication weapon. With music, fashion is 100 percent part of my life. Fashion dresses my messages, protects me and makes me stronger,” he said.

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In 2011 he first ventured into fashion, founding Yoshikimono, a line of edgy and contemporary, “rock ‘n’ roll” kimonos, a reinvention of the millennial-old garment. It has regularly shown during Tokyo Fashion Week.

In 2023 Yoshiki set the bar higher, announcing more ambitious plans for a full-fledged fashion and lifestyle business.

Maison Yoshiki Paris, he said, “is the natural evolution of Yoshikimono, which was mainly targeting the Japanese and Asian market. I felt very quickly that I had to make something much more international. They are both very personal, but at the same time very distinct from one another.”

A womenswear brand with a genderless connotation, Maison Yoshiki Paris made its runway debut on the eve of Milan Fashion Week on Tuesday, sending out a rock ‘n’ roll collection befitting the stage and daring consumers, with crop tops and flared, low-rise pants nodding to the early 2000s, crafted from Italy- and France-sourced precious fabrics including silk, mousselines, lightweight wool and the occasional faux fur accents in sync with the loud aesthetics core to Yoshiki’s creativity.

“Maison Yoshiki Paris is 100 percent nurtured by my childhood as well as by my culture. I grew up surrounded by very luxurious and sophisticated fabrics, and I always admired the particularly straight posture that a kimono requires, which definitely nurtured Maison Yoshiki,” he explained.

A fall 2024 look from Maison Yoshiki by Japanese rock star Yoshiki.
A fall 2024 look from Maison Yoshiki by Japanese rock star Yoshiki.

Despite his ambition to reach global markets, Yoshiki is adamant about keeping his culture and origins intact and embedded in his fashion offering. “Of course, as an international person who travels a lot, the collections are modern and logically very international, edgy and fashionable. The Japanese references might only be visible to me,” he said.

Paris may be in the brand’s name, but Milan felt a more fitting city to unveil its debut collection. “I’ve always loved Milan as a city, especially for its iconic fashion houses….All the houses have a strong sense of glamour that matches my own,” he said. “Also, in terms of fashion business, Italy is one of the most successful markets for that in my opinion. Milan is a city that I love, and in which I want to develop my business.”

The brand is to be distributed through a directly operated e-commerce site and wholesale accounts.

A multitalented creative who as a piano virtuoso played for the Emperor and Empress Emeritus of Japan in 1999, Yoshiki is to debut a glassware collection in collaboration with Baccarat later this year, building on a tie-up kicked off in 2021 when he was selected as one of the designers to help celebrate the French crystal-maker’s 180th anniversary in 2021.

Yoshiki also produces his own California wine, Y by Yoshiki, with the Mondavi family and Champagne made in collaboration with Pommery.

“Projects such as music, literature, culture, all these diverse creative activities, including my wine and Champagne and producing designs for Baccarat, are a way of life for me,” he said. “Being well dressed while listening to beautiful music and drinking good wine in beautiful crystal glasses, that’s a kind of fashion lifestyle that I want to display to others.”

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