Mood board: Hip hop beats blared from a tower of speakers slap-bang in the middle of the catwalk. Clothes had a youthful, urban swagger. Models wore roomier denim jeans – an ongoing collaboration with Levi’s – as street and work-wear fused. Jackets were hybrids of classic men’s outerwear. A hunting jacket in tweed had padded leather arm patches like a faithful biker; a Lower East Side mood prevailed as Carhartt’s classic Duck Chore Blanket-Lined Coat paraded varsity sleeves. It was refreshed in its form and recognisable in its function.
Scene setting: The show was held on the Electric Bridge, which overlooks a section of the Boulevard Périphérique – a major ring road that curls around central Paris. As heavy morning traffic flew past the window and as the winter sun streamed in, the room was transported to a New York street somewhere between the Bowery and the East River. The collection felt distinctly American in its sensibility and attitude.
Best in show: The season marks Watanabe’s most involved collaboration with American outdoor giant The North Face. In 2013, the two released a capsule collection of classic trench coats and chore jackets manufactured using The North Face’s technical expertise. The pieces for A/W 2017 were more substantial. Sections from the brand’s classic duffel bag in water-resistant Base Camp material were engineered into a series of casual jackets.