Junya Watanabe Man Menswear Spring Summer 2016 Paris
More than the sum of its parts. Never has a truism felt more appropriate than this morning at Junya Watanabe, where patch-working has long been an art form.
At first, it seemed as if the Ivy Leaguers had gone native in the Museum of Immigration, built in 1931 by Albert Laprade. Much like Vampire Weekend's “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” Watanabe's collection reflected on colonialism, and exploited the in-roads between preppy and native African culture. From last winter's Sapeurs re-appropriating Western masculine codes to this season, the parallel felt natural.
In many ways, this was still intrinsically Watanabe, with its sensational trousers and denim, the odd Breton top, the masterful tailoring on shirts and jackets ― one of those blazers would be a much better "souvenir jacket" than even the best looking specimens seen on other runways. And of course, the patch-working. Typically Western fabrics competed for attention with wax prints, wools, with linens. An orange shawl reconciles both with its barely there houndstooth. But what can't be ignored is how closely it related to current sartorial obsessions. The abbreviated trouser lengths, the double-breasted blazers, the jaunty straw hats – they were all in full force and will no doubt appeal to sharp dressers. At second glance, there was as much sartorial horndoggery as there was Monkey D. Luffy, principal protagonist of the hit One Piece manga.
Much like the African man in his traditional outfit looking down onto an apparently preserved landscape, Watanabe usually reflects on oft-overlooked dignity. Here, it was delivered in the form of kikoy wraps and throws wrapped around the shoulders. "Look" said a blue crocodile on one. The designer pointed at the mutual fetishizing of foreign dress, and some would only look at the proffered necklaces.
A handful of handsome classic suits, colorful accessories piled over them, closed the show. After Yohji Yamamoto yesterday, this feels like strike two.