July 02, 2004
Having previously trained his well-developed sense of humor on iconic Americana like motorbike insignias, Levi's, and Hawaiian shirts, Junya Watanabe focused this season on the kind of people you might find spending the weekend in a national park: hikers and climbers. Serious climbers at that, kitted out with boots, ropes, and crampons. Watanabe's witand his ease with fashion avant-garderycame into play via funny little punk details (bondage straps and what the British call bum flaps) and his unusual combinations of colors, patterns, and textures. Floral-print nylon would not necessarily be the first choice of fabric for someone about to scale a cliff face. But it suggested a cheerful utilitarianism (also present in a hibiscus-patterned shirt with utility-belt pockets) that made for an entirely charming, happy-hippie take on the great outdoors.