March 04, 2011 Paris
That was partly because a decision as perversely simple as adding an hourglass silhouette to a black leather jacket automatically transformed it into a fetish object. Hips sculpted in skin over a flaring pleated skirt were serene yet disturbing, which, in the big picture, could be a metaphor for Junya's entire career. His models were the very embodiment of the notion, quietly pretty with coxcombs of disordered blond or red hair erupting from their scalps. And the leathers they wore were gracefully transmogrified into couturelike volumes: capes, cocoons, ruched sweeps of cowhide. Some of it was real, some of it was fake. All of it was indistinguishable. Perhaps that was Junya's way of saying that the high and low divisions of fashion are truly meaningless now. But at the same time he seemed to be acknowledging the heritage of the garment he'd chosen to spotlight by dressing his leathers in sweeps of faux sauvage fur. Wild ones indeed.
As ever with Junya, the resonances rang loud and clear. He soundtracked his show with a sonorous male voice reading Arthur Rimbaud's "Ophelia," a beautiful, arch-decadent text. Pair that with the leather jacket, the flared skirt, the sloppy knits, the Chelsea boots, and you'd have a tidy composite of a soixante-huitard, the student staple of the Parisian riots in 1968. There's an upcoming Saint Laurent exhibition in Paris that highlights that period, seminal for both society and the fashion that reflected it.