The soundtrack of mid-period Led Zeppelin acoustic tracks suggested
stadia full of Midwestern blue-collar boys with lighters aloft, and
Junya Watanabe duly followed with his interpretation of the wardrobe
said audience might have worn to work. Hence, a collection full of the
patterns, fabrics, and detailing that have made Dickies and Pointer into
American institutions, transmogrified here by a radically different
design sensibility. While Issey, Yohji, et al. have long sold us on their
version of Japanese peasant garb, Watanabe is coming at things from a 180-degree angle, detecting exoticism in the everyday outfits of (to
him) alien Western culture.
Janitors, carpenters, and kitchen staff across Middle America might have recognized familiar detailsthe pinstriped canvas, for instance, or the topstitching, or the hardy zippersbut they'd surely have been bemused by the proportions. Watanabe showed a long four-button jacket and a short, square-cut, boxy style over trousers that were leggings-tight or dropped-crotch generous. Fabrics were prosaic: canvas, denim, nylon, and pleather. Shoes were appropriately plain Jack Purcells. The designer has recently struck up a customizing relationship with Lacoste, so there were also polo shirts in pink, blue, and red, with the familiar alligator lodged high on the collarbone, or even somewhere over the shoulder. Arbitrary, but oddly charming.