Scene setting: There are worse ways to start a saturday morning than with a Junya Watanabe show on the Rive Gauche. The brand staged its show at the Université Paris Descartes. An utterly French name that goes to perfectly complements the venue: a neoclassic cloister-style university complete with statues of French philosophers. In such a studious atmosphere, the guests chairs were set, making a zig zag shape. Models walked decidedly down the catwalk, stopping at every corner in front of the photographers with a determined look on their face. It was a very intellectual affair, but then with Junya Watanabe it always is.
Mood board: 'Punkette' was the mot du jour. Models wore red eye pencil drawn around their eyes in what seemed - but was not - a tentative manner, and had their Isamaya Ffrench designed make-up paired with the most otherworldly hairstyle we have seen so far during Paris Fashion Week. Hair created by Kamo Katsuya, was tied up in dozens of knots around oversized metallic nails, forming a kind of psycho-inspired mohawk. Complete with nail-decorated chokers and bracelets, the effect was very Tim Burton-esque. It was the perfect counterpoint to the graphic shapes they were modeling and the sweet prints present everywhere in the collection. The show was all about contrast, both aggressive and mild, spiky and smooth, black and white.
Team work: From the first few dresses, a murmur started around the guest seats. Weren't those prints awfully familiar? Hadn't we already seen those retro-looking, hand-drawn spots and those naïf inspired drawings of trees and houses? Wasn't the cotton twill present in most of the looks terribly similar to, well... Marimekko? Indeed it was. Junya Watanabe is - even more than Demna Gvasalia - the king of unexpected collaborations. Last season he surprised everyone by working with The North Face. This time he teamed up with the most famous of Finnish brands, taking their recognizable cotton twills just the way they leave the factory, and draping them around his models in a haphazard way. It was not just original yet idiosyncratic, it was also nostalgic and emotional. For who doesn't have a memory of a Marimekko dress, print or house fabric? Paired with the underground-inspired make-up and the college setting, the show made for a delicious madeleine de Proust.