Junya Watanabe Man S/S 2020 Paris Fashion Week Men’s
Mood board: There’s been a resurgence in authentic workwear for a couple of seasons now – a push back to the self-conscious, curated streetwear look that had a hold over menswear for a long time. Kanye West wore a Dickies jacket to this year’s Met Gala; Heron Preston has collaborated with New York’s Sanitation Department (DSNY) to redesign the uniforms of its workers; Craig Green often ascribes his sculptural, padded separates to traditional workaday garb. Multi-pocketed military vests, field jackets, cargo pants – each is representative of a fixed idea of masculinity, one rooted in physical labour. Junya Watanabe always riffs on an unpretentious, utilitarian style, repurposing shapes that are rooted in practically and no pomp. They are suspicious of fashion.
Best in show: Watanabe has reviewed and renewed workwear since launching his line in 1992. He began by making patterns for Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons in the early 1980s and, to this day, his approach is one of slicing open archetypal clothes and remixing their heritage. For S/S 2020, field jackets and fisherman vests were cut into the front of tailored jackets. A Raglan bomber was set into a shirt; a Levis’s denim jacket had a classic Oxford shirt back. Logos for Fergus Henderson’s iconic London restaurant St John, the Amsterdam Tulip Museum and Copenhagen fishery Fiskerikajen were printed onto bags and jackets. Watanabe embraced the independent voices shaping culture today, featuring the front covers of arts quarterly Real Review and New York-based paper Civilization as prints on large canvas shoulder bags. This was canny and cool.
Sound bite: Watanabe’s clothes are playful yet not impractical. His look underscores a masculine approach to dressing obsessed with detail, cut and fit. ‘I think a big reason for that is the interest in craftsmanship and the discovery of details that actually work and improve a garment,’ Olie Arnold, style director at Mr Porter said. Watanabe’s collections usually derive from traditional workwear and tailoring, where the occupational elements are essential to create a credible piece for the farm or factory. ’His ability to rework and reimagine these details and present them in a contemporary, but still functional manner, is what makes his work so coveted.’ §