June 28, 2007
For anyone concerned about the environmental consequences of Western society's increasingly disposable attitude to clothing, Junya Watanabe's latest show turned the reuse-recycle mantra on its head, in the process producing some drolly appealing keepers. Picture, if you will, Latin American coffee sacks tailored into sleek jackets, or old boxers rejigged as combat shorts. Such sartorial ingenuity isn't uncommon in societies where every little bit helps to get bythe Panama hats and Latin groove on the soundtrack helped suggest such a placeso one was irresistibly drawn to the notion that Junya might be commenting on the Western clothing that gets baled up, shipped out, and distributed throughout the majority world. Hence synthetic-looking argyles and dress shirts from Brooks Brothers (one of this season's collaborators), washed until they were wrinkled, shrunken shadows of their former selves. That's one way that Junya literally warped tradition. He was talking about "relaxed suiting," which definitely applied to pinstriped jackets and shorts that looked straight out of the washing machine, or the candy-striped, Riviera-casual pieces produced in collaboration with French company Saint James.
But it was Watanabe's subtle ingenuity that drew one back to a washed-out madras suit, or shorts that looked like cutoff dress pants, or shirts that might have been reconstituted pajamas. As a consummate fashion outsider, Junya has often compelled us to reexamine our own dress codes. After the reexamination, the recycling?