January 26, 2006 Paris
The designer claimed Bickle as a positive inspiration. "Motivation," he said via his translator. "Men should take charge." However dubious the line of logic, it produced some intriguing clothes. Travis's camo appeared as a beautifully cut jacket; olive-drab made an equally elegant coat. Or it was patchworked for a pair of trousers. A flight jacket was elongated into a parka.
These were all minor masterpieces of recycling. But what made them more remarkable was the sense of an outsider's eye trained wonderingly on an entirely alien culture. Watanabe has always excelled at this perspective. That's how he can conceive of his Travis Bickle in ethnic knitwear, or a shearling-lined nylon jacket in a lustrous, positively glamorous purple. Weird, but also a little wonderful.