Three Drags of a Cigarette with Yohji Yamamoto

Last night, a small group of clients and press slipped into the Yohji Yamamoto store on Wooster Street in SoHo to sip champagne, eat brownies, and preview selections from the brand’s Fall Winter 2024 collection. I was there to interview Yohji-San over a cigarette for our new “Smoke Break” series—a request that came directly from the infamous puffer’s PR team—but most of the guests I spoke with were unaware that he would be present. When the designer finally arrived, short and stoic in his signature hat and black garb, the crowd grew silent, only breaking the lull after club queen Sophia Lamar instigated a slow clap. An hour later, I was summoned outside to speak with the legend. “Only a couple of questions,” I was warned by his keeper as the silent crowd enveloped us on the burning hot pavement. So much for that cigarette. I was nervous and didn’t even have time to break the ice, yet Mr. Yamamoto had us all hypnotized. 


TUESDAY 8:03PM JUNE 25, 2024 NYC.


SCARABELLI: Hi, I’m Taylore from Interview. 

YAMAMOTO: Oh, Interview magazine. 

SCARABELLI: Yes. Nice to meet you. What are you smoking?

YAMAMOTO: Want me to show you?

SCARABELLI: Yeah. Hi-lite? Ooh. That looks nice. 

YAMAMOTO: I’ve been smoking them since I was 16 years old. Almost all my life I’ve been smoking. And I’m going to keep on smoking. She gave me permission for that. She’s great.

SCARABELLI: [Laughs] The store looks fabulous. I wanted to ask you about the dog sculpture in the front. 



YAMAMOTO: My favorite one is dog and smoke. That’s it. 

SCARABELLI: Do you have a dog like that?

YAMAMOTO: Yeah, hunting dog. Very scary. I like it. 

SCARABELLI: How does it feel to be in New York?

YAMAMOTO: Oh, it changed a lot. I feel like a lost man. 

SCARABELLI: That’s okay. Lost can be a good feeling. 


SCARABELLI: There’s a lot of people watching us right now. Do you feel comfortable with that?

YAMAMOTO: I’m not comfortable. 

SCARABELLI: Me either. But they’re all big fans of yours, so I guess that’s good. 

YAMAMOTO: Are you recording?

SCARABELLI: I am. I wanted to ask you about the new collection, do you listen to music while you’re working?

YAMAMOTO: Yeah. Every time it’s different. I make music with my band. This time I made music about Buddhism. 

SCARABELLI: Beautiful. What instruments do you play?

YAMAMOTO: I play the guitar and the blues harp. I’m inspired by Bob Dylan.

SCARABELLI: That’s cool. Do you have any other favorite bands?’

YAMAMOTO: At first I hated the Beatles because it was too much design. 


YAMAMOTO: But then I fell in love with John Lennon.

SCARABELLI: Okay, I’m being told not to take too much of your time, I have one random question. 


SCARABELLI: What’s the most embarrassing thing in your closet?

YAMAMOTO: Curtains.