After a season of dressed-up eighteenth-century dandy formality, Junya Watanabe took it down again for Fall, returning to rework a different classic registerbiker, instead of Beethoven. (He called it "Romantic in Black.") Essentially, it was a show of little riffs up and down the scale of fabric and construction/deconstruction, the sort of riffs that have become familiar at the house of Comme des Garçons over the yearsi.e., stiff leather (real and fake), overdyed viscose, school-uniform knits, polka dots, asymmetry, and the hybridization of garments.
It wasn't one of Watanabe's confrontational punk war criesmore of a teen-rebel look with a softer side. This is for a girl who will pull on a flower-print dress (albeit one she's boil-washed with several loads of black) with her leather jacket, a shrunken cardigan, and a pair of pointy biker-cum-Western boots. In many dresses, the cardigan was fused in and wrapped at the back, sending the frock's pretty lines of tucks and minute ruffles off-kilter. Overall, there was plenty to appreciate, such as the way Watanabe manipulated those unbending leathers: here, to make a zipper ripple down the front of a jacket to echo a frill-front shirt; there, to pick out a fitted fishtail of Alaïa-like seaming in the back of a waisted coat. Look at this as a collection of young, casual separates, and it doesn't take any leap of imagination to see how these pieces will sell, but then again, this wasn't one of those Watanabe shows that provokes its audience to think any big thoughts.