Viva la passeggiata! Junya Watanabe’s models exalted that Italian evening ritual on Friday morning in Paris, strolling the curved catwalk dressed in jaunty topcoats, blazers, neat jeans and natty brogues.
Snippets of Italian dialogue, swooning and cinematic tracks like “Moon River” and some runway preening by models such as Sébastien Jondeau — Karl Lagerfeld’s longtime bodyguard and personal assistant — heightened the charm of this display of sartorial splendor.
Watanabe tends to use the same ingredients for his masculine soup: dark denim, British woolens, bits of outdoorsy ruggedness and a dash of city slicker. But this season he souped things up further with retro car racing and moto jackets, splicing panels of them into sport coats and tailored outerwear — many emblazoned with logo patches of famed Italian auto or motorcycle parts brands. Occasionally perfecto leathers, another Watanabe fetish, fronted his tailoring. “Classico” was the title of the collection, realized via a slew of collaborations with specialty manufacturers, including Caruso for jackets, New Balance for sneakers and Moto Guzzi for pit-crew puffers. There were so many tie-ups, four didn’t make it to the runway. (Sorry Canada Goose and Gieves & Hawkes.)
The show was repetitive, and some of Watanabe’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink garments looked déjà vu, particularly his patched-up hobo jeans. Yet he ultimately wins you over with his fine tailoring, perfect pant shapes and his nimble, inimitable straddling of country chic and city slicker.