Junya Watanabe unveiled his AW2021-22 women’s collection at the waterfront Toyosu Pit theatre in central Tokyo this week, set on a darkened stage for the imaginary concert of his favourite rock acts from The Who to Metallica, AC/DC and David Bowie. Christened ‘Immortal Rock Spirit’, the collection celebrated the brash androgyny of rockstars past, blowing out the proportions of Western archetypes from Levi’s denim, varsity jackets and dark tailoring into swooping silhouettes with a distinctly Japanese flair.
Beneath mohawk beanies, floppy berets, airbrushed leopard or Hello Kitty hairstyles, Watanabe’s singular talent for dissecting the familiar was on full display, with Gianni Versace’s curling rococo scarf prints panelled into blasted Levi’s denim skirts, jeans exploded into tailcoats, or ribbed cardigans cut up into sweater dresses.
Re-visiting the universal iconography of band graphics from the likes of The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Queen, Watanabe spliced merch tees with camo, tartan, floral and leopard prints to create oversized layered tunics tacked to pleather sleeves or strung with spikes and chains. Furthering his perennial narrative of fragmented tailoring, the collection culminated in a display of billowing coats inset with pleating and crisp schoolgirl shirts – gestures that elevated the DIY spirit of punks and glam rock stars through Watanabe-san’s precise intention and fluid line.
Photography by Arieh Rosen & Noam Levinger