Yoko Ono enters the fashion world

From contemporary art, music, activism, film-making and authorship, you would think that Yoko Ono has done it all. Wrong. At the age of almost 80, Ono has entered a new world – the fashion industry. The 52 piece menswear collection called – forthrightly – Fashion for men, is purportedly based on sketches Ono drew in 1969 as a wedding present for her late husband John Lennon. In a statement, Ono spoke about her inspiration for the pieces: “I was inspired to create ‘Fashion for Men,’ amazed at how my man was looking so great, I felt it was a pity if we could not make clothes emphasizing his very sexy bod. So I made this whole series with love for his hot bod and gave it to him as a wedding present. You can imagine how he went wild and fell in love with me even more.” Conceited? Moi?

Yoko Ono


The decision was made to bring the collection to life when Ono showed her drawings to Humberton Leon, co founder of the US based franchise Opening Ceremony, three years ago. The collection was eventually launched by Opening Ceremony last week, and it is due to hit stores in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo in the New Year.

It would be an understatement to say Ono’s collection is ‘a bit out there’, featuring – to take just a couple of examples –  tight fitted trousers with a printed hand on the crotch area and a shirt with the nipples cut out. The still blasé might try a wonderfully revealing pair of trousers with the circle cut out of the behind, along with a “shoulderless” mesh shirt (see right). And these are just a few from a long list. Excited? Great – luckily for you, the collection doesn’t just stop at clothes but includes accessories and shoes as well. We won’t go into those…suffice to say, however, that in comparison to your conventional men’s brands, Yoko’s line is a far cry from even the “edgiest” of contemporary menswear. It would be putting it lightly to say that it challenges most conventions of the fashion world, at least. Perhaps even society, civilisation and humanity at large…


The – ahem – risqué collection has sparked a furore of debate amongst critics and consumers alike. Most of the former opine that Ono’s collection is a joke. Not all of them, though. For instance, Christopher Heydon, one of the interior designers for Ralph Lauren, at least gave some backing to Ono’s creativity: “She’s just a legendary individual. Any time she does anything I think it’s important to support her. I love her clothes. I love her style. Her music is amazing.”  The expression “damned by faint praise” comes to mind…


FAULT does question the necessity for men to add a bandeau lightbulb bra to their wardrobe – either as a functional item or an object of sartorial statement. That said, we are still sad to think that we may never see the collection being aired by gorgeous models strutting down the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, or even a gentleman walking down Oxford street in a pair of $750 open-toed high-thigh boots. Why? Because the collection tells us a lot about the woman behind it. Like her or loathe her, she’s creative. She’s unique. She’s different. Which can never be perceived as negative qualities.


The range may not be everyone’s cup of tea, nor does it in any way reflect (or, one would imagine, dictate) the mainstream fashion trend for Winter 2012/13. But these pieces aren’t just pieces for fashion, they are pieces that were designed for John Lennon himself – a personal gift for a man from his wife. Undeniably, it is a shame – for those with a sense of sentiment (or a wicked sense of humour) – that John will never have the chance to wear them himself. When wearing these clothes, you wear them with the knowledge that John Lennon was the first to look at the sketches. You could even say that owning these pieces are a chance to own a piece of history.

And it might even make the awkward first handshake with that girl at the bar a lot more interesting…