Pin It
Junya Watanabe AW15, Dazed runway, Womenswear, Paris
Junya Watanabe AW15Photography Virginia Arcaro

Junya Watanabe AW15

Pushing the physical dimensions of clothes with 3D incarnations of Victor Vasarely paintings, algebraic scrawls and bulbous headpieces

Initial reaction:

Junya Watanabe said he was “exploring dimensionality through clothing.” These dimensions played out in the solid artistries of cut, fold and construct, as Watanabe pushed technique to the point where it was hard not to be seduced by it all. In black and white, this exercise was rigorously followed through in pyramid forms (accompanied by calculating formulae scrawled on the skin by Isamaya Ffrench) – and then came the cuts and slashes. Circular Chinese paper lanterns or 3D incarnations of Victor Vasarely paintings started to blossom over the body accompanied by bulbous-headed wigs by Tomihiro Kono. One model even had her head completely obscured by a spherical helmet of pleat and fold, as though she were cocooned away from reality. With that said, it was to Watanabe’s credit that he proposed not merely technical feats to be admired from afar, but also real clothes made to be worn, as the concertina criss-cross latticed garments bounced up and down the runway – rooted to the ground with studded brogues. Paper lanterns hung still. Vasarely paintings were static on walls. Watanabe’s dimensions though moved, had the whole crowd bouncing with him. 

Mathematically correct: 

Algebraic scribbles etched all over the bodies pointed to the technical complexity of conceiving such a collection. Have we forgotten that clothes can also be feats of hardcore numerical calculation? When so much of what we see today is purely design by numbers, it’s interesting then, that Watanabe should go to such lengths to achieve what by most people’s reckoning will seem like “challenging” garments. That’s the sort of fixation that propels fashion. Sure, Watanabe isn’t the originator of these techniques, but it felt brilliant when we were reminded that they can be exercised with such conviction. 

Representing the body:

The Comme family have consistently pushed the physical dimensions of clothes and as a result, have broadened our general vision of how the body can be represented. This was yet another stellar way of forcing us to see garments from all angles, as Watanabe’s designs exuded a precision that felt like they had substance – figuratively and literally. This wasn’t merely just a showing of craft-based prowess but also a means of pointing out that clothes can be well-rounded in more ways than one. It will be a joy seeing these garments lift off from 2D planes on the screen and explode into a 3D reality.