Tattoos and Turmoil: Junya Watanabe Men’s Spring 2017

This morning was decidedly odd for an Englishman in Paris, as it was for the entire UK contingency, who all sat dumfounded after the announcement that the UK had voted to leave the EU. We half expected to be frog-marched to the Eurostar this morning. Instead, we became incredibly apologetic (typically English) and tried to comprehend just who had voted to leave. It was under this cloud of political turmoil that we found ourselves by the Seine at the Cité de la Mode et du Design, in the graffiti-walled underpass, waiting for the Junya Watanabe show to start.

The invitation was covered in illustrations of Eastern European tattoos, and all the boys were heavily tattooed, from the first to last exit. Seemingly fresh out of jail, they stopped by each section and stared menacingly at the spectators (one in particular seemed to single me out every time).

The look was underground rudeboy, replete with porkpie hat and stiff leathers, against a wall of stacked speakers blaring out Plastic People of the Universe. PPU, as they’re affectionately known, are a Czechoslovakian group formed in 1968, jailed by the Communist regime and the secret police, only to be liberated during the Velvet Revolution. They reformed in 1997, after being asked by the Czech president to perform at the 20th anniversary of Charter 77, a document repressed by the Czech government in 1976 that criticized the government for not protecting the human rights of its citizens and ignoring United Nations covenants signed in 1966.

This fierce celebration of underground political revolt and sticking it to the man was exactly what we needed this morning, whether it was intended that way or not, and we thank you for that, Junya. Also, the blazers with leather biker sleeves were brilliant, as were the clever rock-and-roll detailing on soft tailoring and shirting. We’ll be wearing them with pride at our own counter-revolution. 

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