Designer Junya Watanabe Celebrates 30 Years of Fashion

To celebrate three decades in fashion, Junya Watanabe shares the inspirations behind a few of

To celebrate three decades in fashion, Junya Watanabe shares the inspirations behind a few of his all-time favorite looks, beginning with the above camouflage cape from Watanabe’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection: “This is an homage to curious forms of nature,” says Watanabe. “It started with searching for a way to transform mysterious organic shapes into garments; we then rendered them in everyday prints and motifs. As usual, the clothes are infused with a punk spirit.” Below, the world-renowned Japanese designer revisits his most memorable collections.

Fall/Winter 2000

“We tried to invent a new, unconventional way to make clothes by layering many sheets of super-sheer polyester material, which is commonly used for day packs. I liked the idea of reframing eveningwear to create something that was both sculptural and dynamic.”

Spring/Summer 2006

“For this collection, we deconstructed the common clothes people would have in their closet, imbuing the ordinary with value. The fabrications we used were the most traditional kinds there are: cotton, nylon, wool, polyester. In collaboration with the late hairstylist Katsuya Kamo, we created a fictional world of near-future animation punk. I like the balance of the ordinary with the fantastical.”

Fall/Winter 2011

“I was most interested in expressing construction and exploring silhouettes in leather. The garments were either heavily structured or extremely fluid. The fluid styles—mostly the dresses—featured an emphasis on draping.”

Spring/Summer 2016

“I have never traveled to Africa, but this season started out with crafting accessories for a fictional tribe. I love geometric shapes and patterns. Many interesting materials were used, including aluminum processed at a traditional Japanese factory that does not specialize in making jewelry; special bonded textiles created through silk screening; and paper and faux patent leather that transformed into abstract objects that can be worn.”

Fall/Winter 2010

“We reimagined conventional military wear for women. Special attention was paid to seam detailing, functionality, and draping.”

Spring/Summer 2000

“This is purely about function and practicality in response to the rain. We utilized water-repellent technology in a dramatic way—that was not so common in fashion back in those days. I am compelled to transform the mundane into the unexpected, a creative challenge that imbues the garment with a different purpose and meaning.”

Fall/Winter 2000

“I call this techno couture—evening dresses in the Junya Watanabe style.”

Model: Emma Harll. Casting by Sarah Small at New School Represents.

Produced by Farago Projects; photo assistant: Cecilia Byrne; retouching: Simon Thistle; black and white images printed by Peter at the Image; fashion assistant: Emma Simmonds.