Designer Spotlight: Junya Wantanabe
Junya Wantanabe is the Japanese designer behind one of the most talked about labels in menswear. Wantanabe graduated from Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo and began to work for Commes Des Garcons creator Rei Kawakubo. After years of apprenticeship as a knitwear designer, Wantanbe debuted his own collection, “Junya Wantanabe Commes Des Garcons” in 1993. The fashion gods looked on us with love when Wantanabe expanded and began designing menswear.
Wantanabe’s Fall 2011 collection is a beautiful representation of fearless contrasts of fabrics, textures, and patterns. Seasonal patterns dominate the collection, particularly Fair Isle knitwear. One of my favorite pieces is a double-breasted Fair Isle royal purple shawl collar jacket. It’s visually stunning and immediately caught my attention, as it is unique in its creation and imperial in its essence. My second favorite piece is a navy Fair Isle hooded toggle coat. Again, I’ve yet to see a toggle coat this majestic from any other designers but Junya Wantanabe. The silhouette is flawlessly streamlined and the colors are meticulously complimentary. I suppose it’s only natural that I enjoy the knitwear the most from the former knitwear designer.
The Fall 2010 collection has a bit more of the rebellious attitude we associate with New York City, with asymmetrical double-breasted jackets and contrast suiting. One piece that stands out is a textured drab olive shawl cardigan, perfect for stylish layering. The most recent Spring collections do not disappoint either. Spring 2011 is a mix of colors; creams and whites, paired with shades of navy and plaid. Conversely, the 2010 collection is bold, colorful window-pane and plaid blazers, ascots, and oxford brogues.
I really can’t get enough of Junya Wanatanabe. The designer is a master of manipulating menswear classics into contemporary hallmarks. Not only is Wantanabe acclaimed in the fashion world, he is also acclaimed in the music industry. Lupe Fiasco created the track “Gold Watch”. A track dedicated to “peruse the essentials of cool”. In that song Lupe boasts “Such a good designer, Junya Wantanabe”, before shortly saying he also admires Yohji Yamamoto. What does that mean, you ask? When music and fashion begin to merge, it’s the sign of a designer at the top of his game.