Junya Watanabe Men's Fall/Winter 2018
SHOWS Chanel Fall-Winter 2018/19 Haute Couture Collection High Profile
SHOWS N21 Spring Summer 2019 Men’s Fashion Show
EDITORIALS Gucci launches "Gucci Collectors", the campaign for its Fall-Winter 2018 collection
SHOWS HYMSKI Rangers Collection
If Junya Watanbe’s guys had walked off the runway and hung around on the street, passersby might easily have taken them for clusters of off-duty police officers, security guards, utility workers, builders, or students. Set against today’s weird fashion landscape—the appropriation of existing forms, the rampant logomania—Watanabe’s work stands out as the most authentic of the lot. At a juncture when the imitation of workwear, outdoorwear, and technical sportswear has turned into commonplace style, Watanabe’s approach is of a whole different order from the posturing of the in-joke trope. Like a mechanic, he’s interested in bolting utilitarian clothes together to improve performance value. A prime demonstration of that came halfway through the show. The audience had had a chance to tick off some of the brand collaborations Watanabe has going on—Canada Goose, North Face, Karrimor, Carhartt, New Balance, Levi’s. It had clocked Watanabe’s application of reflective strips and considered the urban usefulness of that idea for commuters, pedestrians, and cyclists on dark winter nights. It had noticed that some of the men had nylon totes or were carrying backpacks. And then one model stood at the end of the runway, popped one of the nylon totes inside out, and—hey, presto!—it transformed into a checked, tailored jacket. It transpired that there are various permutations of that handy bag-jacket device, one of which is a backpack. Watanabe’s catering to the male mind in the context of modern lifestyle is a unique phenomenon in men’s fashion. When two or three brands are gathered together in a Watanabe garment (as they so often are), the upshot is always functionality, not surface fakery for the sake of fashion. A Junya Watanabe piece comes with built-in authenticity, durability, and warmth. It’s the real deal, with an extra by-product: guaranteed 100 percent cool.