Yoko Ono has a renaissance

Jacob Bernstein

This is the jacket, and you see, this is the pants," Yoko Ono was saying. "This is what I wanted to focus on. Accentuate the good bits."

It was 10:45 a.m. and Ono was sitting in the back of the trendy fashion emporium Opening Ceremony in SoHo, decked out in sunglasses and one of her trademark top hats (Issey Miyake, in case you're wondering), and showing a reporter a series of sketches she'd submitted to the design team she was working with there.

As it happened, the pants she was focused on had a hole where the crotch normally is, and the good bits to which she was referring ... well, you get the point.

Ono pointed to another sketch, this time with arrows pointing at the nipples, and directions that read: "holes to put flowers (fresh) in."

Moments later, an assistant brought over kneepads with eyes drawn on them. The newest celebrity entrant into the design game first had the idea of doing men's clothing when she fell in love with John Lennon in the 1960s. She adored the way he looked, both dressed and undressed, and was perturbed by the fact that it was almost always women who were sexually objectified by designers.

"Men were always wanting us to look good and take off everything," Ono said. "And we were never able to enjoy men's sexuality in that way." Times, of course, changed. Women went to work in droves. Gay men and lesbians became mainstream. The male body became a Madison Avenue commodity.

When she met Humberto Leon, a founder of Opening Ceremony, in Tokyo about three years ago, she told him she had long dreamed of doing a menswear line. He jumped at the chance to work with her.

... contd.

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