In an unusually forthcoming concession, Junya Watanabe said he "wanted to convey resort in a cool way" with his Spring collection. The resort he imagined was clearly somewhere with access to the great outdoors—hiking and fishing featured prominently as leisure activities, and Junya's direct inspiration was a company called Seil Marschall, which has, according to the label, been hand-making backpacks in "Good Old Germany" since 1896.
So the backpacks—and fishermen's bags—were the collection's fulcrum, matched to the mutated outerwear that was another essential component of the show. An inside-out patchwork of construction has become a clear Junya signature. As sophisticated as it undoubtedly is, it had a charming Elmer Fudd-ish naivete here, which the porkpie hats and sockless oxfords did their big-city best to counter.
For this onlooker, every Junya show reaches a point—one outfit—where the designer's intent coalesces into clarity. Here, that eureka moment was a cherry-red hiking jacket (Junya does mean reds and pinks), after which the clothes had a little more lead in their pencil, and resort did indeed take on a cool(-ish) mien. There was even a full-on floral—not to be confused with a Hawaiian shirt, even though a hibiscus featured prominently. Still, the merest whiff of Hawaii stirred memories of Junya's Aloha shirts from more than ten years ago, when his fascination with Americana led him down fascinatingly fetishistic paths.
What's happened since was defined by today's invitation, a contemplative image of primary-colored garden chairs facing a view of a tree-lined lake and mountains. It fit with the sweet, companionable mood of the collection itself, with the models greeting one another like hikers on a trail as they crisscrossed the catwalk. If there was ever angst in a Junya collection (and there was), it has been processed and filed away.