Junya Watanabe Menswear Fall Winter 2013 Paris
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As fanfare music from Eastern Europe beckoned Junya Watanabe’s hard-wearing souls for a measure of fragile comfort, the silhouettes evoked the waves of men who left their families in search of riches in early twentieth century America.
 
Fall-winter 2013/2014 turned an eye on those seeming fresh off Ellis Island, finding work where they can. Harkening back to his previous seasons of homage to the dignity of labor, these men cling ferociously to a certain sense of propriety, even in their dire circumstances, so far from their homes, and in the face of a harsh winter.  His archetypal characters underscore Watanabe’s dichotomy: structure is essential, but it can be twisted by the simplest details.
 
Their once handsome suits were worsted within an inch of their lives but still maintaining with meticulous care, featuring healthy measures of Watanabe’s patchwork in compelling patterns.  There’s really no hiding how well made they were, nor the quality of the fabrics used. Clearly, these men, while reduced to recycling their own scraps, see no beauty in rips and frays. Frock coats and jackets were stitched up as clean as could be, while trousers were cut from stiff denim mellowed by wear, their cuffs rolled up. Near the end, a puffy set featuring a covetable navy duffle coat appeased his devotees.
 
There was no excess nostalgia in these clothes as Watanabe created an almost anthropological exploration, not of a certain era but more of a certain way of relating to clothes. Watanabe beckons to look beyond the patches, to see the man in them, standing as proud as any ruler on his land. His clothing may be less edgy than before, but his commentary is as sharp as ever.

– Lily Templeton

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