Before vaulting up the half a dozen flights of time worn stairs that lead up to Lycée Henri IV, having a good look at the invitation provided a clue to the proceedings, a difficult to see depiction of Japanese topiary painted on top of mobile screens. From the soundtrack of grunts and bamboo swords being struck, it was the flip side of some training dojo, and with flip-flops on all feet, it was for sure not some fussy affair.
Perhaps not as idiosyncratic as other seasons, Watanabe's summer focused on indigo, in its Japanese cotton incarnation but also as the ubiquitous denim. Traditional elements were reused widely throughout, underpinned by Watanabe's patchworking. Although his tell-tale structural work was still going strong, there was something about the softer textures and color that transcribed a sweetly nostalgic feeling.
But although there was a heady dose of folksy - from the lacquered hair right down to the knotted carriers - the real star was the denim. And that twisted the narrative into something of a mid-century youth vibe, with those fitted jackets and non-dressy bottoms. Fact is, from the number of editors and buyers wearing his patchworked denim, the most sought-after pieces were undoubtedly these. But the rest of the offering got just as many lustful gazes. That opening windbreaker with its white lines on the front? Better get your name on the waiting list fast.
Closing the show, it was t-shirts all around -models had doffed their outer layer for that final walk, with their designs a zoom of sorts into the patchwork's prints, and cementing that casual jeans & tee mood. Between that and the jazzy and "sounds of Sumo" soundtrack, it was East meets West at its best.