Saddled with a $76 million debt, Yohji Yamamoto has filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan. But this doesn't sound as bad as it seems, because pretty much as soon as he filed, an investor offered to bail him out of the whole mess. (Unlike Christian Lacroix, who balked when a couture customer threw money in his face.) Yohji can operate business as usual while the reorganization takes place. Investment firm Integral Corporation will infuse the Yamamoto empire with cash and help with management.
Luxury fashion in Japan faces its fair share of hardship in the recession. Versace recently decided to close its three Japanese outposts. Louis Vuitton — the house that had critics swooning over hipster fur tails and, well, this shoe — canceled plans not long ago to open a store in Japan. However, fast-fashion chains like H&M and Uniqlo are doing great. Maybe when it comes to designer fashion, Japan is just more into homegrown labels than Italian glitz or hipster gimmicks.