A huge part of fashion and design is taking things out of their natural habitat and giving them a comfortable — or disquieting — new home in a different world. Sometimes it’s called appropriation; sometimes it’s just inspiration. Junya Watanabe is an absolute master at bending a wide breadth of references, ideas and objects to his whim, for example, exalting punk or uniforms or puffer jackets or Africa or Chanel jackets as he rearranges the natural order according to his eye.
For spring he did it again, targeting nature itself, re-creating its organic shapes on garments made from meticulous but gentle drapes, folds, wraps, swirls and circular cutouts. Voluminous but controlled, most of the silhouettes were cut with high necklines and shapes that took on regal attitude when paired with the tribal punk priestess stylings of collars with spikes as long as porcupine quills, hair twisted around knitting needles and crude black lines drawn around the eyes.
The clothes’ rounded shapes was just one element at work. Watanabe made them shout by borrowing the graphic interior textiles of Marimekko, using nine patterns — optic black-and-white swirls, dots, checks, lines, distorted window panes and the illustrated floral and house Lintukoto pattern. The Finish fabric house’s signature happy graphics took on grit and elegant intensity in Watanabe’s hands.
A ruched and dotted dress billowed over biker shorts and white New Balance trainers studded in spikes. A sculpted hourglass top was worn over a long balloon skirt. A spotted shirt that looked constructed from a cropped half-circle was worn with a goth pleated maxiskirt. Along the way, Watanabe mixed in classics — mariner stripes twisted and contorted into T-shirts, leather moto jackets done in collaboration with Schott, and green camo on an oversized ruched dress and matching leggings — all items that have become a sort of urban camouflage done in ways that guarantee you won’t blend in.
The show ended with what felt like the evening component to the beginning of the lineup’s more casual lines. The graphic patterns were the same, but the shape of a circular top in big black-and-white dots over a matching pencil skirt and white trainers tied with black satin laces, was more polished. They were made for the organic punk princess.