Didn’t Junya Watanabe do punk last season? Yes, he did, with a Berlin streetwear slant. For fall, he let his anarchy flow from the source: London. It’s not a crime to engage with the same idea two seasons in a row, and perhaps it’s unfair to expect Watanabe to constantly have a curveball waiting. But, from a designer with the range that he has, there’s always the hope of surprise.
His punks were dressed in electric yellow and red plaids that were patchworked with black leather, sequins, traditional tailoring fabrics, a host of floral and jacquard upholstery plus leopard prints done the classic way and in red and purple. Everything was collaged: amorphorous capes and dresses crafted from circles and pointy triangles, some fused with moto jackets, many worn over pleated kilts and layered with fishnet sleeves and tights. Along the way Watanabe worked in relatively straightforward pieces — a sequin top with a doily lace collar; an Army jacket; a trench; softly pleated plaid dresses and black tailored jackets with patchwork sleeves.
A piece of trivia from collection notes circulated after the show: “Watanabe created his first collection from materials found at flea markets in London, stripping away sofas, pulling away curtains and cutting up tweed coats.” His techniques, construction, eye for color and shape are the best of the genre, bar-none. Even if punk was a repeat from the last show, Watanabe freshened it up with two collaborations, one with Tricker’s, the traditional English shoe company, and a Union Jack print from London-based interior designer Jimmie Martin.