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Monday, July 22, 2024

Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garçons

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For the second day in a row, two key brands from Asia – Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garçons – showed great collections, both in the same wrecked space on Boulevard Haussmann.
 

Junya Watanabe experiments and speaks

One of fashion’s great designers, and most taciturn creators, is Junya Watanabe, who not only presented a memorable experimental collection on Friday, but actually spoke about it too.

Junya Watanabe – Spring-Summer2025 – Menswear – France – Paris – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Junya is known for his love for blending British and western tailoring with off beat impulses. And did so again in this show – with a remarkable series of patchwork and overprinted tuxedos. Hollywood glamour turned on its head; country mansion chic driven through a blender. Every single look, well, looked great.
 
“Trying to explore something new through elements that already existed – like denim and patchwork,” explained Junya post-show in a backstage full of rubble.

A show that starred a platoon of dinner jackets; patchwork fantasies; faded brocade glories; tartan inserts; aged brocades; ripped up old denims, yet all finished with impeccable satin collars.
 
“It’s not that I love tuxedos, but that they represent a great way to express unlikely materials like recycled denim,” explained Watanabe.
 
Changing gear at the finale, Junya showed rock band with black T-Shirts – Black Sabbath, AC/DC – that were fun and finished with Italian silk scarves. They felt like an afterthought.
 
But, if the defining element in the wardrobe of a well-dressed man in the mid 2020s is the unconventional tuxedo, which it is. Then, the best you can possibly hope of acquiring is one by Junya Watanabe.
 

Comme des Garçons: Mash up in mashed up Paris building

Just like Junya, Rei Kawakubo, the founder and designer of Comme des Garçons is certainly sibylline. But if she adores silence and rarely talks backstage, her clothes have a great deal to say. Just like this season, where her amalgamation of epochs, fabrics, techniques and fabrics had her audience pretty much spellbound.
 

Comme Des Garcons Homme Plus – Spring-Summer2025 – Menswear – France – Paris – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

A show that lead to a stupendous finale – a quintet of frock coats in mesh inside of which was a raggle-taggle display of fashion detritus. Depending on the mood – scraps of burlap, shards of linen and yards of satin. A groovy surrealist rock star dandy vision you had to love.
 
With Pharrell Williams, wife and one son sitting front-row, Kawakubo wowed with tremendous tailoring mashup opening. A Russian boyar’s coat interacting with an Edwardian undertaker; a Directoire lawyer with scalloped hemmed tails mingling with a matinee idols tuxedo. A Renaissance inquisitioner encountering a London high court lawyer.
 
Historical and a tad hysteric, but always very dynamic.
 
Backed up by a churning industrial rock soundtrack, to drive on a cast sporting the week’s wackiest wigs – skullcaps; Mohicans and berets all made in plastic chips, in a children’s comic palette.
 
It’s been 45 years since Rei Kawakubo named her brand from a line in a song by Françoise Hardy, the late great singer who passed last week.
 
Yet still after four decades coming to show in Paris, and Rei and Comme des Garçons remain the most singular vision in menswear.

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