Saturday 19th January

| BY Richard Gray

Junya Watanabe: Menswear AW19

You wouldn’t expect anything less from a pattern cutter: before his duties as fashion’s unofficial chief idea-generator, Junya Watanabe was the man who made the House of Comme des Garçons come to life. It was Watanabe, who turned the esoteric thoughts of designer-icon Kawakubo into a blueprint. And without the blueprint there’s… Junya was the lynchpin.

It’s with that experience, that clothes like these are made. This morning’s show, set to up-beat jazz, was a distillation of his previous and most studios work: inserting the details and workings of technical wear into tailoring. A zip-pull pocket on the back of a tailored wool jacket said it all. In the back of other jackets, were rectangles of a furnishing fabric, the kind you see on gran’s sofa. These, presumably from one of Watanabe’s favourite trips to Portobello Market. He reworked a cache of bolts of old furnishing fabrics used for sofa repairs, which he bought by the armful from the London market years back. It became increasingly accomplished when he spliced camouflage with a canvas coat; and was that the side of a vintage canvas holdall that made the vent of a jacket? He thrills in sourcing old army gear; the trappings and the uniform and has a personal collection of the super-rare and the “limited issue”. He’s the same with jeans: Tokyo remains the global capital of difficult-to-find Levi’s. Watanabe riffed on the rarest styles with his own version new ones and, always, the best denim-ageing techniques. These are gold to all those denim-heads.

Photography By Jason Lloyd- Evans.