Monday, October 24, 2016

Junya Watanabe // Spring 2017 // Menswear

“Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence and witty banter,” so says Google when you key in the word “hipster.” We all know, or have seen, what appears to be a ‘hipster.’ In business, in education, anywhere, there’s always an anti-establishment fellow who avoids the mainstream, drinks cold brew coffee and prefers wholesome, vegetable-heavy meals for lunch and dinner. Like my millennials rant last week, I’m sure hipsters everywhere hate when the terminology is used pejoratively.

Personally speaking I didn’t spot any hipster attendees at London Fashion Week in September—the preferred uniforms are all-black or eclectic colour-clashing. However, back in June at Paris Fashion Week, Junya Watanabe found an army of hipsters for his menswear show. The Japanese designer, former protege of Rei Kawakubo, sent his—alarmingly white—street-cast models down the runway in decidedly ‘hipster’ garb. He subverted this trope of the craft-beer-drinking, Mumford & Sons-hopeful by tattooing his models. Whether already tattooed or not, the makeup artist on hand branded the models in decorative swirls and geometric lines. It was quite jarring. 

The collection sought inspiration from the 1998 Serbian film, Black Cat, White Cat, a film I’m sure would please modern hipsters with an affinity for Balkan film. The model who opened the show wore black and white, naturally. His cropped trousers were paired with a floral-printed, summery shirt. Topping off the look was a bolero on his grown, and slip-on shoes. There were leather blazers, more cropped trousers—no socks, obviously. Hats, beards and abstract floral-prints dominated the ensuing collection. 

Despite the humorous inspiration, the gimmicky tattoos, one thing is for certain: these are well-made clothes. Having visited Dover Street Market, I can attest that Junya Watanabe’s menswear uses beautiful fabrics, which I felt were of the highest quality. Hipster or not, there are great things to take away from this collection; specifically the leather jackets and work trousers. 

The unfortunate thing about this collection was how it played things by the book. It didn’t stray far from the stereotype of hipsters, the stereotype of those adorned with tattoos and the preconceived idea of hardness with those characters. It was also styled in a typical, expected way. It’s a true shame, because individually these clothes will look great. 
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