A Lesson in Geometry From Junya Watanabe

Amid the placeholder collections offered by mega lines such as Dior and Lanvin as well as rumors of numerous potential departures from others (Phoebe Philo at Celine, Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent), Japanese designers further dug their heels in the ground this week in Paris. Junya Watanabe, the original protege of Comme des Garçons genius designer Rei Kawakubo, showed his phenomenally creative collection on the fifth day of PFW. Defining the aesthetic of Junya Watanabe is no easy task; however, as explained by Adrian Joffe, president of Comme des Garçons International and partner of Kawakubo, what ties the Comme offshoot lines together is their “desire to create something different.” Something different is precisely what you get from Watanabe’s FW16 collection. Extreme, mathematically geometrical shapes are offered in neoprene, with a very limited color palette (black, red, and a harsh pink for good measure). It’s said that while lines such as Junya Watanabe are under the umbrella of Comme, Kawakubo gives full creative autonomy to the designers — leaving masterminds such as Watanabe to develop truly unique visions. With all the talk regarding contract negotiations surrounding Slimane at Saint Laurent and bolstering profit margins at Gucci, we hope young designers take note of what really matters: the clothes; and more importantly, what makes those clothes: an innovative, uncompromising take on what fashion should be — profit anticipation aside.

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