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Junya Watanabe Menswear A/W12

The renowned designer takes on American workwear with a Japanese twist and careful attention to detailing

The mysterious and shy Japanese designer used to be very unpredictable; his themes varied massively, his sizes were tiny one season and oversized the next, and not many designers have collaborated with as many other brands as Junya Watanabe. But in the last few seasons, years even, he seems to have found a style that suits him and stuck to it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, why change a winning team? And so it was that also the new collection, shown early on Friday morning at Place Vendome, continued Watanabe's love of all-American workwear and wilderness-inspired garments. Like many other Japanese brands, Watanabe is obsessed with US culture; the jeans, the check shirts, suspenders, reinforced fabrics and multifunctional details. 

This season, the third in a row, saw another stellar hook up with French brand Le Laboureur on a few simple yet stylish workwear jackets. The main add-on for A/W12 was a series of extra fabric details attached to coats, shirts and trousers; corduroy collars, leather pockets and patches of mismatching materials all kept us on our toes. A few rolled up Levi's jeans, buttoned-up check shirts and heavy boots reinforced a 50s feeling to the collection, one that works really well with Watanabe's current aesthetic. A couple of more formal suits did show up, but always with a Japanese take on the cuts and details... one had diagonal buttoning and the other boasted leather elbow patches. Throughout there was an meticulous approach to details through his use of pockets, linings and quirky takes on staple pieces, like the jeans with chino details and the chinos with a bit of incorporated denim, and by the time we left there was no sign of Junya Watanabe having to substitute any of his players to win the game...