Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS-Despite the male voice's slow reading of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud’s Ophélie--a Symbolist sonnet written when Mr. Rimbaud was 17 years old in three parts, describing the fictive lover of Shakepeare’s Hamlet who eventually succumbed to insanity and death by drowning in a river--over the soundtrack the Junya Watanabe show on Saturday morning, the designer’s fall collection is anything but soft poetry.
But Rimbaud’s poetic words--flotte, rêveur, liberté (floating, dream, freedom)--figure heavily in Mr. Watanabe’s biker leather jackets that formed the backbone of the collection he sent out on the top floor of the Maison des Métallos. Mr. Watanabe made the black leather biker with all its possible permutations--some transformed into cropped capes, some with faux fur boleros--opening with a tight waist hour-glass flare belted jacket with a knee length wool skirt.
From there the biker jacket was transformed into a flare sleeve zippered jacket with wool a-line skirt, a sleeveless zippered short dress, or a slim waist mid-elbow sleeve coat with large lapels. One of the best look had only remnants of the biker jacket: just the leather sleeves and lapels on a wool body, worn with a wool skirt and leather Chelsea boots. It has always been Mr. Watanabe’s specialty, in a way his design philosophy, to concentrate on a few ideas for each collection, but express them in as many ways as he can. Last season it was the nautical stripes.
Mr. Wantanabe transformed this symbol of youth rebellion into a garment of high fashion, with added touches like boning to shape the jacket on the contours of the hip. Beyond the leathers, there were asymmetrical black dresses-- one with a leopard print faux fur bolero--and light orange or leopard faux fur coats.
**All photos by Imaxtree.