Junya Watanabe painted an intriguing fashion character for spring: a rebel with a penchant for period silhouettes, spiky emo hairstyles — and the finest tailoring fabrics, right down to the branded tape along the selvedge.
Lengths of lustrous plain and pinstriped wool drifted from giant shoulder pads on trenchcoats and double-breasted jackets that were constructed like barbershop capes.
Set in a black, curtained box at the Palais de Chaillot that shielded out views of the Eiffel Tower, the show was frisky and fun as models emerged two-by-two to a soundtrack of Duran Duran’s greatest hits from the ‘80s — plus some snippets of Cabaret Voltaire and Roxy Music.
Watanabe returns frequently to English subcultures — this time London’s New Romantic movement from the ‘80s, with touches of punk lingering — yet he still manages to say new things with tartans, biker leathers and cobweb sweaters. There was a polish to his silhouettes and accessories, chains and pearls galore draped over loose, slightly lopsided dresses, oversize shirts and platform combat boots.
Almost everything was generously proportioned — the striped, asymmetrical business shirts; the pleated, funnel-necked smocks, and all the lightweight tailored coats — except for the skinny black jeans paved in studs in the front and the snug fishnet knits.
Indulging his own penchant for collaborations, Watanabe also trotted out a range of looks in collaboration with Komine, a Japanese maker of racing gear. One oversized bomber jacket ended in a froth of tulle, resembling something Bonnie Prince Charlie might have worn if he rode motorcycles.
While louder than the rest of the show, these looks reflected Watanabe’s restless mind and intricate scissors.