Trench Quench at Junya Watanabe

The invitation was made of natural cardboard with words screen-printed in neon pink. A crafty reveal for the collection that almost uniformly followed this mantra, playing a balancing game between beige trench-coating and neon sportswear. Watanabe seems to set himself stringent limits before beginning to design a new collection, and then uses those constraints to test his own capabilities.

Today he focused his attention on the trenchcoat. It was deconstructed, reconstructed, hacked, and re-imagined in dresses, skirts, trousers, biker jackets, classic fabrications, new fabrications, and at its outer limit placed onto oversized shirting as an appliqué bustier. It sounds simple enough, but enforcing such strict rules really tests a person’s tenacity, and that is something that Watanabe has in spades.

The collection referenced glitches while the soundtrack glitched between piano and rock. The print section that stood out toward the end looked like body-mapping with colorful texture glitches. A glitch by definition is “a sudden, usually temporary malfunction or fault of equipment.” Anyone that has looked at digital art in the last decade will be aware of the sheer volume of imitation glitch works that can be traced back through the ‘happy accidents’ of the Abstract Expressionists. Though, like their forefathers, the digital artists are recreating something accidental through careful programming, planning, and meticulous work. As Jackson Pollock once famously stated, “I don’t use the accident. I deny the accident.” Surely Watanabe would agree with this.

He makes what he does look so easy, effortless even, but to arrive at something so accidental-looking in tailoring you need an exceptional understanding of the garments’ construction. His command of fabric is rarely bested, and this was no exception. These pieces are sure to be instantly snapped off the rails, and straight into the wardrobes of the fashion savvy.