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Show Report

Show Report: Junya Watanabe S/S 18 Womenswear

by Lucy Norris on 30 September 2017

Lucy Norris reports on the Junya Watanabe S/S 18 womenswear show.

Lucy Norris reports on the Junya Watanabe S/S 18 womenswear show.

This season's show from Junya Watanabe was dizzying and magical. Unexpected touches saw the label surprise, whilst other aspects possibly call for a further evolution. Op art patterned black and white pieces saw swirls and African geometries on cove dresses, skirts and tops. The collection also featured nine of Marimekko's interior prints. Paintbrushes, toadstools, pot plants and flowers were just some of the motifs featured within these prints. Hand drawn, home spun and retro, the illustrations from this Finnish textiles house also became a popular fashion print in the the late fifties. The most famous customer of Marimekko's fashion prints was Jacqueline Kennedy who bought eight of their dresses in the sixties. The show notes talked about the collection being 'an homage to curious natural forms of nature' and that the use of Marimekko's patterns had been about adding 'another dimension of interpreting nature.' The second dress seemed to have the heart of a rose at its centre. Flat packed and almost like 2D origami in its dimensions, a circular construction was like the layered petals of a flower. The works of a grid patterned dress, ditto. But this time the dress draped in linear sections around the body. Later on in the collection, the front of jackets opened like huge circular petals - and tunic tops had drawstring piping that wound around the form.

This enquiry into nature - and Marimekko's kitsch depiction of the subject - was hardened via the world of punk. Archetypal punkish spikes leapt from the neck and the wrists, attached to thick leather dog collars. The girls' hair was styled in an African hybrid mohawk. Hair was twisted and fastened tight with metal screws and bolts. The cutest look, when the hair was styled into pin curls and fastened with metal clips, was almost twenties flapper meets death metal rock chick. The Left Bank Breton stripe also arrived, and gave a rebellious nod to the beatnik movement - and added another note of kitsch classicism. Polka dots - a favourite of both Junya Watanabe and Rei Kawakubo - naturally also came forth. One of the most interesting prints was a pixilated camouflage. ?

With much of the styling being a very literal take on punk, and not for the first time in recent seasons, a more updated take on this attitude is possibly now needed. Rei Kawakubo and Junya Watanabe were - and still are - greatly inspired by this historical era. The spirit of punk still exists today but it looks different. It's more global - and its more inclusive. It's not about a British white kid wearing a spiky dog collar but a young Mexican feminist performing spoken word on YouTube. The exoticism of white models - as well as the worshipping of British sub culture - feels dated. Things have moved on. Nina Simone's Feelin' Good was this show's finale tune. As I sat there, I recalled that infamous 'No Fear' interview with Simone, where she talks about wanting to 'go into the nightclubs full of all those elegant people - and really shake them up, you know?' A Nina Simone shake up? Fashion wouldn't know what had hit it.

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