Wednesday, February 27, 2008

paris - junya watanabe - fall/winter 2008

for the past year junya watanabe has been experimenting with iconic trademarks of the great parisian designers. a year ago he dipped into azzadine alaia's body enhancing seaming, and last year it was chanel's classic tweed jacket that he drew inspiration from. the strength of these two designers in tailoring complimented watanabe's own competence for the craft. so it was surprising to see the japanese designer take on the grecian draping of madame gres and vionnet. facing against the technical mastery of madeleine vionnet is a daunting task that even the most experienced designer will think twice before approaching. but watanabe's resolve to reinterpret the clothing of western culture can work to his advantage. he has no sentimental attachment to traditional western clothes so he is free to deconstruct and reconstruct it without parameters a designer from europe or america would be psychologically confined by because of their historical connection to the garment. the art of the drape has been prolific throughout designer collections for the past few years, but very few have managed to do it in a totally new way. watanabe wrapped fabric around the body in unexpected and original ways sometimes appearing to have no regard to functionality. like some of his dresses that fully covered one arm at a time, or sleeves that were draped as so that the arm wasn't covered, but it made one wonder how easy it would be to maneuver your limbs when worn. even though some of the pieces appeared a bit too difficult, there were exquisitely sophisticated draped dresses and marvelously constructed jackets that combined strong tailoring counterbalanced by a soft drape that gently framed the face. those jackets were the perfect metaphor for watanabe. there is strength in his vision, and a softness in his love and sincerity for dressing women.


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