The Evolution of Yoshiki from Rock Star to Fashion Icon

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 Yoshiki’s eventual step into fashion appeared to be unavoidable, much like his lengthy music career. “I’m the oldest son, and, usually, the son takes over the family business,” Yoshiki, Variety’s International Achievement in Music winner, says of his parents’ kimono shop. “I was constantly surrounded by these flashy kimonos. My father had a factory behind the store, so I knew every step of the process.

” He goes on to say, “I became a musician, but fashion’s always been around — music and fashion are almost inseparable.” The multihyphenate is in the big leagues with his Maison Yoshiki Paris brand, which debuted at Milan Fashion Week. Yoshiki says he has been overwhelmed by the “great response” to the line and his show. The fashion connection was always present. Yoshiki and his bandmates, X Japan, sparked international interest in what would become known as Japan’s Visual Kei fashion and music trend in the early 1980s.


The band’s 1989 sophomore album, “Blue Blood,” carried the slogan “Psychedelic Violence Crime of Visual Shock,” which encapsulated Yoshiki and his peers’ androgynous makeup, outfits, and brilliantly dyed haircuts. “I was a rebel; I rebelled against everything,” he says about his time. “I grew up listening to classical music but also enjoyed punk rock… I wanted to dress like David Bowie. It’s glam, but yet androgynous. So, while we play powerful rock music, we also dress in a feminine style.

People were asking, ‘What are you doing?‘ I thought, ‘Why not?‘” Yoshiki acknowledges that focusing too much on X Japan’s appearance rather than their music influenced him. “At the beginning, I was having a really hard time,” he said. “A lot of criticism and individuals could not understand it. I was sort of like a target. I became noticeable, and people began to attack me. People ignored our music because our dress was so flashy.

Some asked, ‘Do you play music or just dress up like that?‘ I’m quite secure in music — no one knew I had a classical music background — but we had some difficulties. Day-to-day, “I’m pretty indecisive” about my outfit. “I have a lot of stage clothes ready to go, and I make decisions at the last minute—I improvise a lot. But, just as I improvise a lot in music, I’m doing the same in design.”