There is often a “Rosebud” moment with Junya Watanabe’s collections: a Citizen Kane-like word or phrase uttered by the designer that seems to convey many intricate and multifaceted thoughts, expressed ultimately in the simplest of ways. But this word—today it was “honeycomb”—is like the answer to a complex mathematical equation; it is how the answer itself is reached, the process to find the distillation that is important. What you see in each Watanabe collection is a kind of complex and obsessive problem-solving. And for this season, that notion of the mathematical problem is particularly apposite.
For Fall, the designer wanted to explore the idea of “dimensionality through clothing.” And it is that place where mathematics and nature meet—in a certain soft yet rigorous organic architecture—that was at the crux of today’s show.
Fractals, Fibonacci numbers, and the Golden Ratio all seemed to come into play with the purity of shapes and the geometry of this collection—and it was in the hexagonal form of the honeycomb that things really took flight. Hexagonal forms are found in nature due to their efficiency, and here the efficiency of structure and decoration became one, particularly as the clothes became great swathes of honeycombed capes.
Complex pleating systems are a common thread linking many Watanabe collections, but not since Fall 2000 have they had such a startling starring role. The romance of that show gave way to a certain hardened graphic attitude in this one. Although classicism was still there, obsessiveness and transgression had taken over—the models frequently emerged with scribble on parts of their bodies, and on closer inspection, this was a mimicking of mathematical equations, transferred from whiteboard to skin.
Like the mathematician John Nash, Watanabe seems almost obsessive about searching for hidden patterns. Each collection proposes the exhaustive solving of another problem, to the point that you almost wonder whether the designer might drive himself mad with such concentration on it. The thing is, it never gets tiresome. The obsessiveness begets the intrigue of much of this clothing and ultimately the satisfaction and strange desirability of it; neither does it mean there is no proclivity to prettiness. Today this collection exerted the same, strange pull to not only admire but to own.
Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear Junya Watanabe