Junya Watanabe | Fall Winter 2021/2022 | Fashion Show
Good to see women kicking up plenty of noise in Tokyo—at least among the hard-core rock-sister gang that Junya Watanabe brought onstage for his “Immortal Rock Spirit” fall show. Watanabe’s menswear methodology—within which he stands as fashion’s biggest superfan and rejiggerer of 20th-century authentic clothing genres—has spilled over into his womenswear this season. The upshot: an unruly collage of classic band T-shirts and logos, collabs with Versace and Levi’s, Fair Isle sweaters, tweed coats, and MA-1 jackets, usefully built to wear on the street. Utility, with a defiant streak.
It felt like a good, long stride away from the corseted tutu and bondage collection he was showing this time last year on a runway in Paris (even though that one had been inspired by Debbie Harry). This time, Watanabe’s band tributes—to Kiss, Aerosmith, AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, Queen, the Who, et al—were wrapped up, patchworked, and hybridized into draped shapes which resisted standard fashion vocabulary. Were they togas, cocoons, tunics, dresses? These garments had some of all that going on, while also cleverly—and without constriction—capturing the flung-on blanket-y feeling that’s becoming emblematic of fall 2021.
Watanabe is quite brilliant at striking a balance between quotidian pragmatism and the joy of wearing fashion. On the one hand, he broke down Levi’s (specific vintage models from 1937, 1947, 1966, and 1976), inserting plissé fabrics into their seams, at times making them look like skirts from the front, jeans in back. And on the other, there was the collab with Versace’s classic baroque scarves, seasonal souvenirs that are going to be sold jointly by both brands. Plenty of cozily cool knitwear and great outerwear is coming women’s way too. It’s utility with a colorfully defiant streak. Whatever the mood is destined to be on the streets this fall, the Watanabe woman will be up for stomping right through it.
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