Friday 22nd June

| BY Richard Gray

Junya Watanabe: Menswear Spring/ Summer 2019

Junya Watanabe’s mind is a prism: shine things through and out they come, the other end, “Junya-fied”. They’re smashed up a bit, altered and original ideas are proposed in different way. He feeds off culture and history and music and the street and “plugs in” and then “downloads” that great invisible now. He’s a zeitgeister. He’s sees what we will see beforehand and turns it into clothes and bags and shoes we’ll want. There’s always lots to want. And, ask a Junya fan: after waiting six months for his clothes to hit the shops you still want them. It doesn’t tire and you don’t tire of it. It still keeps its urgency and that “must get” thing, many brands don’t. You and I can see something on a runway or Instagram and fall in love and then fall out of love when it sits there in the shop. This – let’s call it a “desire-dip” – is amplified by social media. See it, want it, ignore it. In through and then out of the Junya prism, just, for his exceptional Spring ‘19 show, set to The Thunderbirds theme tune, a riff on an army life: army flack jackets and waistcoats, with half a dozen patch pockets, tons of camo’ – a new Junya one – and lightweight default city civvies: smart suits in checks and stripes. And more of his tech-y coats. Junya’s coats have changed the outerwear market (and upped the prices) since his collaborations with specialist brands like Northface. For this show, collabs with New Balance, Trickers, Breton Ciré and Levi’s. The Watanabe collabs are guaranteed to gift his co-collaborator with cool; these links are mutually beneficial. Their nouse, his noise. One quick word about the shoulder bag: a strapped on and around the chest affair. It was kidney-shaped or, as above, a lozenge-shape at Junya, but they’re big news for spring across at least half a dozen other designer brands. Is this the new cross-bag? Is it the new bum bag worn crossed?