13 posts tagged "Junya Watanabe"
There’s plenty of hand-wringing every season about the impossibly young, impossibly pretty male models that stalk the runways, looking pigeon-chested and years away from their first beard-hair. Those guys aren’t going anywhere, but it was a refreshing to see a little scruff (and more!) at Yohji Yamamoto (left), Junya Watanabe (center), and Jean Paul Gaultier (right) in Paris.
While our eyes were on the ethereal Cate Blanchett, we almost missed the equally lovely Salma Hayek as she hit the opening of Cannes yesterday. And as it turns out, she was wearing the first dress from Gucci’s new Premiere Collection—the label’s version of “couture.” (To get the real couture name, garments must—among other stipulations—be produced in Paris.) Hayek is married to PPR CEO François-Henri Pinault, who owns Gucci—helps, as they say, to have friends in high places. [Fashionologie]
J Brand’s cargo Houlihan pants are flying off the rack, and now have the blessing of Cathy Horyn. They’re named after Loretta Swit’s character “Hot Lips” Houlihan from M*A*S*H*. Is this the start of a M*A*S*H* moment? Now that we think of it, the Bieber bangs are a little Hawkeye Pierce… [NYT]
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama wore a color-blocked plaid shirt to a public event, and pundits are now claiming his poor fashion sense may ruin his career. A Japanese fashion critic told CNN, “This shirt comes from the eighties or nineties. His ideas and philosophy are old. Japan is facing a crisis and we can’t overcome it with a prime minister like this.” Allow us to play devil’s advocate for a sec—isn’t it possible that this shirt is actually really forward? I mean, squint just right and it sort of looks like a Junya Watanabe! [Gawker]
And Alice Temperley has rallied friends—including Liberty Ross, Lily Cole, and Lady Amanda Harlech—to sit for portraits that will be auctioned to benefit women’s organization The Circle next week. [Vogue U.K.]
The experience of watching a show by Rei Kawakubo or her protégé Junya Watanabe is akin to being given a code to crack, hardly a challenge which presents itself very often in the fashion arena. And that’s why I could reel away from today’s shows in Paris with a sense of achievement. I cracked the code! It mightn’t have been their code, but it sure worked for me. The first clue is always the invitation. Junya’s featured a tripartite photographic exposition of America’s military might. Think about it—that was the average Japanese family’s introduction to the West after World War II. Next clue: music. Junya’s was Charlie Parker’s be-bop. Now you have to imagine jazz as the sound of democracy. Then came the clothes that go with the freedom. At an average fashion show, the pork pie hats, shades and narrow black ties might be set aside as stylists’ flourishes, but here they were finishing touches to outfits that starred the slender tailoring of Parker and his cohorts, emphasised by attenuated silhouettes. Rebirth of the cool? “This is a man” was the theme of the show. It was a real Junya moment.
Mama Rei’s invitation was a plain time and place backed by a sturdy piece of card. Protective? Well, that was a giveaway. The color palette of dun military shades suggested the uniforms of men who are paid to protect society’s values at home and abroad, the shorts over pants were not a new silhouette for Comme but the fact that the shorts were buckled like kilts said “warrior” to me (and probably to ancient armies in the Scottish Highlands). Those same buckles appeared on the sturdy bulletproof-like vests that were shown under tailored jackets. The curious padded sections on those jackets could be construed as coinciding with the vital organs that lay beneath them, just like the knee, elbow and shoulder quilting. Phew! These are clothes, Jim, but not as we know them. Once your mind locks into this conceptual groove, it’s hard to trip yourself out of it. I was imagining the bearish fur coat as being a wrap for the kind of man who might need the protection the rest of the collection was pointing to (i.e. a Russian oligarch). Fortunately, the immortal Alfred Hitchcock had a paraphrase-able response. Ingrid, it’s only a fur coat.
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If it wasn’t for the roving eye of a few chic, young gallerinas, Pipit designer Dustin Horowitz might be painting portraits instead of making dresses. After he left his longtime post as creative director at Tommy Hilfiger in 2007, Horowitz launched the dress label as a side project, but his main focus was fine art. After all, that—not fashion—was his major at Parsons. “I invited these galleries to see my work,” explains Horowitz in his spartan Garment District studio. “But all they wanted was the dresses.” Two years later, those dresses are in 30 Barneys New York stores (they have an exclusive in the U.S.) and 20 more boutiques in Japan.
But Pipit is certainly not without its arty elements. With a number of exceedingly simple silhouettes (the racerback tank, the T-shirt dress, the apron) as canvas, Horowitz experiments with industrial fabrics and various screening and dyeing methods, like a cool stenciled lace print or last spring’s amazing pleated over-dyed plaids, which recall Junya Watanabe. Many of his pieces are produced at a studio in Brooklyn that works exclusively with fine artists, but the dresses are still priced quite affordably—around $250 to $275. If all goes well, Spring 2010 may also see Pipit’s first jacket, modeled on the classic jean jacket. For now, we’re happy to have that laser focus on perfectly simple frocks with an artful soul.
Pipit dresses, $250 to $275, at Barneys New York, www.barneys.com.
Call it optimism or call it escapism, but Spring 2010 is the season of the ruffled party dress: usually short, often chiffon, and almost always nude (we refer to both the color and the prevalence of sheer fabrics). Marc Jacobs—who else?—kicked the trend into high gear with his parade of ballet nymphs in New York. The frill lasted all through London, Milan, and Paris, taking in along the way Christopher Kane, Fendi, and Jacobs’ former protégé Peter Copping at Nina Ricci. But toward the end of Paris, a counterinsurgency. At Celine, Phoebe Philo cleared the collective palate with a collection that she herself described as “a kind of contemporary minimalism.” Hannah MacGibbon was of a similar mind-set at Philo’s former stomping ground Chloé, and, thinking about it, the groundswell of “utility chic” could be traced back via Junya Watanabe‘s pantsuits to MaxMara‘s back-to-what-we-do-best styles to…well, didn’t Marc put those plain little raincoats over his ruffles? (And was it just coincidence that the patron saint of contemporary minimalism, Jil Sander, chose this moment to re-emerge with her +J line for Uniqlo?) So, suddenly, two camps: one that flirts with frivolousness but that also has the potential to create romance and desire, the other practical but possibly in danger of coming across as too plain. Click for a slideshow, then tell us, which side are you on, and perhaps more pertinently, which approach will make you open your wallet?