Excursions to the African continent have been a persistent theme in the Spring shows: surely something to do with the urge to get as far away from the West's problems as possible. Junya Watanabe has gone there, too, but on his runway there was no sense of panicked escapism. As the sound of spring birdsong twittered on the soundtrack, out came girls carrying sheaves of flowers in towering head wraps, and an instant atmosphere of sunny serenity filled the room.

The beauty of it was the way Watanabe struck such a beautiful balance between tribal references and his own signatures. He used colorful "African" prints with motifs of apples, hearts, and leaves, and bunched, twisted, and draped them into tops, tunics, and dresses, steadily mixing them with faded denim, bright gingham checks, pristine eyelets, and surprise splashes of leopard spots and neon. In fact, as Watanabe aficionados know, his interest in African drapery actually began in his hit collection of last Spring, and the patchworked denim pieces, fishtail skirts, and Edwardian jackets were in shapes that he's made his own throughout his career. With the crisscross flat leather sandals—a blessed sighting of some of the most comfortable footwear yet seen this season—it was a vision that offered something complete, natural, and unforced. Familiar, yes, but the kind of familiarity that breeds contentment.