5 Questions with Yoshiki: Rock Superstar and Rockstar Designer 

It’s not every day a high fashion designer makes a headline grabbing debut at Milano Fashion Week by playing original compositions on a crystal grand piano as his dramatic all-black collection parades down the runway. Yoshiki is a creative force to be reckoned with. 

Yoshiki is everything everywhere all at once. A bigger-than-life figure in Japan, he’s a master pianist, an Asian rock star, a Hollywood film composer, a filmmaker, a fashion designer, and creative provocateur. His legendary band X Japan sold more than 30 million CDs and has sold out venues like the Tokyo Dome (18 times so far). He even had the honor of composing a song for the 10th anniversary of His Majesty the emperor’s accession to the throne. Yoshiki’s powerful presence as an Asian style icon was solidified when he became the first Japanese male featured on the cover of Vogue Japan.

Yoshiki’s passion for fashion runs deep. He created the fashion house of Yoshikimono in 2009 as a fusion of tradition and innovation. Yoshikimono garments were displayed at the prestigious V&A Museum in London and at the Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac in Paris alongside works from other prominent fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and John Galliano. Yoshikimono has headlined Tokyo Fashion Week multiple times since 2015. 

Recently, at Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2024/2025, Yoshiki debuted his first collection for Maison Yoshiki Paris — an enterprise that unites Yoshiki’s creative activities in fashion, design, and lifestyle. His fashion development director, Kiki de Salvertes, is committed to making Yoshiki a global superstar, having previously discovered such designers as Vivienne Westwood, Raf Simons, Iris van Herpen and Jeremy Scott. Maison Yoshiki Paris has so far collaborated with accessory designers including Grounds, Adult Antwerp, and Archived Prototypes.  

You’ve thrived as a superstar hyphenate. What is your vision for your new high fashion house, Maison Yoshiki Paris?

YOSHIKI: Maison Yoshiki Paris is a structure that will bring together all my creative activities in fashion, design, and lifestyle. It’s the logical extension of Yoshikimono, which I created in 2011 and which, until now, focused on the art of the kimono, which was revisited in an edgy and contemporary way at the various Tokyo Fashion Weeks. Maison Yoshiki Paris, which has a more international vision, shares the values that are precious to me personally: sustainability, upcycling, short production circuits and, of course, genderless. 

The collection is feminine but also genderless with a very contemporary, edgy style and a touch of rock ’n’ roll which has always been important to me. In my opinion, it’s extremely creative, with a very showy finish. All the materials are very high-end, natural, and Italian or French. The collection currently consists of 37 looks, comprising a comprehensive range of products, all in black with subtle red accents. 

Black is the most striking common thread through all 37 looks. Which other elements play an important part in the collection’s fashion story?

YOSHIKI: The silhouettes are elongated, structured, and powerful. The range of materials includes a patchwork of smooth or tailored silk, silk velvet, faux fur, dry and stretch wools, and oversized sequins, creating a rhythmic stride for those who wear them. Naturally, denim features prominently in my collection, which I have chosen to reinterpret in various stages. I have created eight spectacular silhouettes in collaboration with one of the best couture houses. 

When did you first become enamored by the fashion industry?

YOSHIKI: My personal relationship with fashion started when I was a child. My father ran a luxury kimono business and I’ve always been surrounded by textiles, craftsmanship and a real sense of elegance. Of course, as an artist, I’ve always taken care to look after my appearance and my looks, so I’ve always been interested in the international avant-garde fashion. 

Besides your father’s initial influence, which other designers speak to you the most? 

YOSHIKI: From the outset, I’ve followed the collections of Alexander McQueen, Dior, Saint Laurent, and Versace, whom I’ve always admired, as well as other designers I like and wear. Milan has always been a great source of inspiration for me. Its architecture, culture, museums and of course concert halls. In the context of Maison Yoshiki Paris, Milan is undoubtedly the world’s fashion business capital with the greatest international artistic influences.

Where will your creative muse take you next?  

YOSHIKI: Obviously, the main sector of activity for Maison Yoshiki Paris will be fashion. A range of women’s ready-to-wear but also genderless. Complete with the development of essential accessories such as shoes, bags and jewelry from the very first collection. Season after season, the range of products will grow in order to respond as much as possible to the different desires of my clients and customers… sunglasses, underwear…

In addition to its development in fashion, Maison Yoshiki Paris will also be tackling lifestyle in collaboration with specialist French houses. For example, a collection of water glasses, wine glasses and champagne glasses will soon be launched in collaboration with Baccarat. Of course, this is directly linked to my work with Rob Mondavi, Jr. in Napa for my wines and my partnership with Pommery for my own champagne. I have always dreamed of offering my guests a prestigious glass service representative of my vision and made by the greatest French crystal maker.

All photos courtesy of Maison Yoshiki Paris

Main photo by Pietro D’Aprano/Getty Images

All other photos by Luca Tombolini

 

Pursuitist - 5-Star Luxury

Vicki Arkoff

Based in Los Angeles, Vicki Arkoff is Editor at Large for Pursuitist and a founding editor for Holiday Goddess, the online destination for chic women travelers from the editors of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, Conde Nast Traveler, and BBC. Her travel and lifestyle reports can also be been seen in Atlas Obscura, The Awesomer, DaySpa, The Chicago Tribune, CNN Travel, JustLuxe, Lonely Planet, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Toronto Star, WellSpa 360, WestJet Magazine, Where Traveler, Where Guestbook, Yahoo News, and dozens more. She’s co-author of the bestselling Holiday Goddess books (HarperCollins and iTunes) including ‘The Holiday Goddess Guide to Paris, London, New York, Rome,’ a travel Top 10 staple. As editor, Vicki’s other books include ‘Sinatra’ (DK), ‘Inside Mad’ (Time-Life) and ‘Virgin Los Angeles’ (Virgin Books). She is one of the Usual Gang of Idiots for MAD Magazine, an entertainment reporter (Daily Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, CREEM), and authorized biographer for pop culture icons from the Beach Boys to Beastie Boys, Paul McCartney to MC Hammer.