junya watanabe's unique take on ordinary wardrobes

The "no theme" show was a show of Junya's simple, classic innovation.

by Jack Sunnucks
30 September 2019, 9:53am

“No theme,” was the theme of the SS20 Junya Watanabe show. “He simply wanted to create strong garments by maximising his techniques to their fullest.” If only everyone had that in mind while designing their collections. Watanabe-san’s show was an incredible start to the day, marrying innovation and technological prowess to classic shapes -- mainly, the trench.

Not that the trench stayed particularly trench-like. The designer took it in every direction possible, first making it oversize, then creating full-bodied dresses and skirts and adding neon panels. Quickly, the looks became more abstract -- a pleated dress had just the suggestion of a trench’s lapels hanging off it like a harness, another was made of lace with just the trench’s lapels. Trench bodices, worn over white shirts, looked incredible, and somehow over 40 looks the (no) theme didn’t become stale.

Watanabe obviously had to investigate his favourite territory, the leather jacket, in a black and white interlude that also encompassed sharp tailoring (which seemed to only be for the front of the body -- suits were attached to the front of crisp, oversized white shirts, almost like a waistcoat). He quickly returned to the trench, however, pairing oversize shapes with pop art leggings with prints by artists Demsky J and Bicicleta Sem Freio. You got the impression that the twisted trenches couldn’t quite contain the insane prints that lay beneath, the new meeting the old in an insane mashup.

Watanabe’s genius is for taking the mundane clothes we see on the subway and making them extraordinary, blowing them up or editing them into an entirely new shape. With the neon sportswear worn under a coat, the models looked like women on their way from the gym after work, which was endearingly “no theme” indeed. Watanabe’s eternal theme, it seems, is giving his unique take on our everyday wardrobe.



Photography Mitchell Sams

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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