Long Nguyen is co-founder and style director of Flaunt.
When Junya Watanabe is focused on one particular subject, he is totally focused on that subject without any distractions whatsoever. At his Saturday morning show at the Garage Turenne, Watanabe returned to one of his favorite garments–the classic black leather biker jacket–and developed an entire collection around the endless permutations of this revered icon.
Watanabe used seemingly haphazard combinations of different fabrics like orange and red tweeds, felt wool, and leather. The printed invitation–a colored photocopy of a classroom notebook with drawings of a large rat, music notes, a human ear, a computer keyboard, and written words like Wet Paint, 1% of the US, Under Construction–may have been clues to this random mixture of styles and fabrics.
The cut of the garments showcased the precision of the couture techniques that the designer often employs, no matter how sporty the clothes are. Despite the many couture elements in the cutting techniques and shapes of the dresses and coats, Watanabe always has a keen eye and a particular intuition for the sensible street style that grounded this collection for many of his devoted customers. One great look was a pair of low slung, belted, worn denim pants covered with a patchwork of colorful swatches of wool plaids, worn with a grey wool jacket with large metal zippers.
Towards the middle of the show, three models came onto the white elevated runway each wearing versions of a large plaid tweed wool short dress with black tights. Each carried a round leather bag, two on the shoulders and one dangling along the side. It is an unusual event at a Watanabe show to see handbags trotted out: This is a fashion house that sells clothes and not accessories, and the clothes are never meant to accessorize the handbags.
The leather bags are a new collaboration with Loewe which will be sold only at Comme des Garçons stores in September. A second part of this Watanabe-Loewe partnership is a capsule collection of clothing in different tweed styles and several bags that will be sold at both Comme des Garçons and Loewe stores worldwide in the fall. To celebrate the collaboration, Loewe also provided the leather Amazona bags carried by a model wearing a plaid boat neck jacket and short black wool trousers. This collab may be unexpected, but then again–we know to sometimes expect the unexpected from Junya Watanabe.