Junya Watanabe's invitation demanded a long, hard look. It was a photograph of a pub. A unicorn was sitting at the bar; outside, a trio of chunky guys in panda, tiger, and lucha libre masks were having a pint. The image played like a left-field vision of how the world views Londoners: myth-dogged, booze-soaked, slightly exotic in their ordinariness. Any one of those explained the Japanese fascination with the UK's capital city. Junya Watanabe added one more, his own personal favorite: "Fish and chips."
Shown in a mansion on Avenue Foch, a more elevated venue than usual, Watanabe's collection was a love letter to London, typically idiosyncratic. The hairstyles celebrated the city's youth cults: Teddy boy ducktail, Mod crop, glam rocker's mullet, punk mohawk. The top half of each outfit was a British archetype. Outfit number one: the city gent in his bowler hat, gray flannel jacket, businessman's stripe and tie. Bottom half, the patchwork jeans that have been such a sensation in Junya's women's line that, Dover Street Market reports, men have been buying them as well.
That top-bottom division continued throughout the show, with the proportions of the jackets stretching or shrinking like a pocket history of British tailoring: the elongated Edwardian jacket, the Mods' bum-freezer, the utilitywear of the hunting, shooting, and fishing set. Always with a properly sartorial collar and tie, the latter tied in the Windsor knot that George V bequeathed to men's style.
A dozen ravishing mohair sweaters, snagged and laddered in true punk style, closed the show. The music came from London-born King Krule and Oasis, though we're not sure how bolshy professional Mancunians Noel and Liam Gallagher would feel about soundtracking a paean to London.