Junya Watanabe was in conceptual mode for spring: i.e., seeing women not as fashion consumers, but as walking canvases for a jolly geometry exercise. His series of collages of flat, circular pleather cutouts placed on gauze, shown on models with plastic cloche-like headdresses, triggered vague reminiscences of 1920s experimental art—Sonia Delaunay, maybe. Or was he was thinking more of the eighties, when his Japanese compatriots—his boss, Rei Kawakubo, chief among them—broke away from the body and claimed the freedom to use clothes as a medium that could talk about things other than sexiness and selling?
If so, he didn’t seem to be making any heavy points about it. The dots gave way to 3-D origami grids and then a few pieces that looked a bit like quilt patterns. The underpinnings were wide leather shorts, conical patent skirts, and Breton-striped T-shirts. Cleverest, or at least the most wearable, were the T-shirts that came with a pair of semicircles attached to the shoulders.
It was an odd departure, though. Watanabe is idolized by countless fashion-seekers who love his clothes for the cool way they mesh into their everyday wardrobes. There was much less of that sort of thing visible this time out—but then again, it’s never smart to speak too soon about what Junya Watanabe is up to. Everyone who loves Junya knows how his ideas are always translated into a myriad of different pieces by the time they reach stores.