Oh, Yoko

PortraitYoko by Ami Kealoha
Yoko Devereaux , the fictional persona attached to the menswear line now in its ninth season, still receives emails and requests for interviews in spite of 33-year-old founder Andy Salzer's candid and frequent disclosures of the truth. "The first thing honestly is that my last name is Salzer," he explains with a laugh. "[Yoko] eptimoizes fashion that doesn't exist, where uptown meets downtown, where two worlds collide."
It's all part of the fast and loose spirit—playful experimentation and a willingness to have fun—that incorporates Salzer's involvement with the local Williamsburg art and music scene, his West coast background, and a nod to traditional men's fashion. The upshot is a label known for collaborations with avant-garde designers like Surface2Air and Ju$t Another Rich Kid and for clothes that radically reinterpret classics (suits made from sweatshirt material and fleece are becoming Yoko Devereaux standbys), all the while remaining an enduring staple in the urban male's cramped wardrobe.
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Taking a cue from casual L.A. glamour, a standout from Yoko Devereaux's Spring 2006 line re-imagines a motorcycle jacket in black and white cotton sweatshirt material, paring it down to a slim-fitting shape and the sole feature of an iconic mock collar (with a nifty snap closure) that makes it more Members Only than Tommy Lee.
Rock-and-roll irreverence extends to tees emblazoned with phrases like, "Burn Hollywood Burn" and "Lay it Down Gently on the Bentley." Other graphic tees include white silhouetted palm trees that frame a dark cross-hatched sky and muscled arms juxtaposed with a preppy crest—examples of Salzer's interpretations of the darker side of L.A., a contradiction he sums up as, "New York tipped on its side," adding, "I love to hate Los Angeles."
It's this kind of friendly East vs. West rivalry that breathes a welcome freshness into the fashion world; freewheeling assimilations and dynamic alliances make the fictional Yoko Devereaux more life-like than most.
Yoko Devereaux is available in New York at In God We Trust as well as at Underdog East (117 East 7th Street, 212-388-0560), Gerry's (110 Eighth Avenue, 212-243-9141), and Memes.
Williamsburg-based men's line Yoko Devereaux faces-off with the West Coast in its latest collection of cool guywear.
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