There is an unexpected concession to the exuberant iridescence of the natural world in the collection for Spring/Summer 2012 by Junya Watanabe, a longtime collaborator of Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, known for his enchanting and complex post-modern reworking of themes and an inexhaustible ability to transform industrial materials into sculptural pieces to be worn.

The new season will be carried in by impassive human faces in symbiotic metamorphosis with bold headgear of tropical feathers, suggesting the surreal beauty of a hybrid and accessory humanity, scaled down by the irrepressible forces of nature. Macramé lace dresses and tops adorned with bright flowers on asymmetrical layers of fabric and far more tortuous structures of short synthetic leather boleros combine to evoke lush floral pageantry. The somewhat androgynous and clearly modern footwear lines enclosed in stringently waterproof cuts, however, manage to keep the collection within the highly recognizable standards of style. Watanabe does not create abstract intellectual speculations, but rather absorbs and translates, filtering the stresses of the real world with an imaginary and ultra-modern sensibility. One year after the terrible earthquake that shook Japan, these prosperous and recurring natural elements, far from signaling an unlikely conversion to exotic themes, look like a plausible and fervent tribute to the surprising vitality of the self-regenerating forces of nature.


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