I'm more interested in film than fashion and this DVD was part of my ten disc Wim Wenders 'Collection'.
Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto is the focus of this documentary by the German film-maker. He returns to Tokyo, Yamamoto's Tokyo and his fashion studios to see him at work. The thrust of this docu is to be about the Spring fashion show in Paris, in which Yamamoto is taking part.
The title 'Notebook On Cities & Clothes' is so called as Wim always sees far beyond the periphery of what is ordinary, what most people see. This is what makes him and his docu's so fascinating. Both he and Yamamoto compare cities, how cities can be nation-less, "I don't feel Japanese, I feel I'm a Tokyo-ite" says Yohji. Natural comparisons between Paris and Tokyo get discussed too.
Wenders' is never afraid to try new techniques to supplement his visual palette and here he found (this is 1989) that filming the designer at work with normal 35mm film was both intrusive and cumbersome, whereas video was not. The downside, at least then, was the quality, though he's keen to agree but is sure which direction both the industry and his work is going, equipment wise.
Wim will show and run up to two or three small actual TV screens within the main one, showing a general scene, one with the person narrating and another showing that same person working. It never looks too cluttered and without the computers of today must have made syncing them quite tricky.
Yamamoto is happy to chat and philosophise on camera. He seems most at ease leafing through books of old black & white photos of Japanese working people and their practical, working clothing, their faces and body language telling their stories, not the garments they wear. He'll then later compare the Japan of today (well, 1989) thinking that anything it wants and chooses can be simply bought.
If you're a big fan of Yamamoto, or Wenders, you'll give it a higher score than I did. It's naturally dated but remains interesting, rather than riveting viewing.