Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS--There could not have been a better morning to stage a show outdoors than last Frida, when designer Junya Watanabe presented his spring menswear in the courtyard of a school on the edge of the Luxembourg Gardens.
Under the bright sunshine, just yards beyond the pear fruit bearing trees and with George Harrison's “My Sweet Lord” blasting over two mounted loudspeakers, Mr. Watanabe imagined the look of farm life without ever having any actual living experience. There were tan cotton overalls rolled up with a faded chambray shirt, low front cut denim overalls with floral print cotton shirts and caramel wellies, as well as light pink cotton overalls paired with a blue utilities jacket.
A third of the show was various permutations of basic overalls. Transforming the most basic and industrially produced garment into an item of fashion is one of Mr. Watanabe’s great strength as a designer. He has worked with the Dickie’s pants and Levi’s 501 in the past. Now the most basic garment of country life has attained a high fashion status, coupled with a reworked heavy cotton patch pockets car coat, a red faux leather raincoat, or a military green nautical coat with steel hook closures.
As the show progressed, the basic cotton fabrics gave way to light tropical wool windowpane checks, fine navy cotton, and light denim jackets. Denim here is not the industrial type of denim mass produced: it is the type of denim handmade in small quantities in the region of Okayama near Osaka that specializes in old school production. Basic garments from Mr. Watanabe always have a luxurious feel.
Among the best non-overall looks were the navy blue rolled-up pants with a grey cotton jacket and the brown cotton capri pants paired with a green plaid jacket. I also liked the faded denim single-breasted jacket with patches of new denim sewn in as pockets and part of a lapel.
To top it all, for evening, the white cotton overall was paired with a crisp white shirt.
Photos via GQ.com.