There's nothing newsy about the fact that Junya Watanabe fuses street clothes with something romantic-y. It's his beat. At this point, the things to keep an eye on are the by-products of his seasonal excursions into cross-referencing, rather than the conceit itself. For Fall, then, it wasn't the fact that he used a military-Edwardiana-vaguely New Look conglomeration that was particularly arresting, but the way his work concentrated the eye on skirts. Flared, flouncy, pleated, and generally bursting into swishy lower-body volume, they represented a brilliantly focused resolution of one way the fashionable silhouette is being reshaped for winter.
Watanabe's use of military-issue look-alike fabrics, parkas, anoraks, camouflage print, and MA-1 flight jackets had no aggression about it—he employs the source material more in the sense of day-to-day, season-in-season-out practical classics, examples of which are permanently present in the young person's wardrobe these days. And he's a gentle soul. The gospel choir music on his soundtrack, singing of redemption, had his audience tearing up while scribbling their personal shopping lists for Fall. You sense he's a nice guy who just wants to make everyone relax and feel happy about this stress-y fashion business.
The ideas really got going when Watanabe showed a tulle bustle shooting out of the back of a narrow military-drab skirt. From there, he riffed on accordion pleats, sometimes transposing them into drapey dresses over a base of black ribbed knitwear. The MA-1 jacket was cutely cropped, sometimes streamlined into fitted coats and then reduced to sweet, fake fur-lined bonnets. Nevertheless, it was his nailing of the skirt volume issue—crucially without dirndl-ish waist bulk—that will have his followers trotting happily off, eager to score a key component to make their wardrobes work anew next winter.