unya Watanabe is not a man to fear Winter's chill. The slow withdrawal of life, the creeping grip of the cold, gray world- he does not shun this. Rather, in the starkness and the silence of Winter, Watanabe-san finds a beauty, serene and slow, unmoved. This is the beauty he shares with us in the collection for his eponymous line in the Fall and Winter of 2011.
Junya Watanabe's man does not attempt to ignore the cold; rather, he embraces it. Much of the collection is sheer, leather coats and selvedge denim rendered in black and gray. There is a patch-pocket shawl-collar cardigan in midnight blue, out of which a light blue striped dress shirt peeks in a high and narrow gorge. It is like an icicle hanging from a dark and frozen tree. Black leather, gray wool, dark hats and watchman's caps drink greedily of what little heat remains, feeding on the cracking bones of a Summer long decayed.
Yet life endures, and Watanabe-san's offerings are not all so grim. He has embraced the colorful boldness of the blankets that we wrapped around ourselves in holidays past, using the striking patterns in cardigans, sport coats, duffel coats, sweaters. Humans do not hibernate; we must continue to live through Winter's cold, and as nature's colors dim we supply our own to fill the empty space. Watanabe-san acknowledges the smallness, but also the beauty of this endeavor with the colorful patch pockets that adorn some of his sport coats, squares of contrasting color that break apart the garments' dominant states.
What Junya Watanabe says to us, in his Fall and Winter collection, is that we cannot escape the cold, either within or without. It cannot be delayed, it cannot be defeated. It will come whether we like it or not. Yet it comes not to spite us- the cold comes because it must, because it is a part of the world just as much as we are. Watanabe-san therefore asks us to face Winter's chill touch, to let it linger, to understand it. We may find, as Junya Watanabe has found, that in the cold slumber of the wintry world something precious waits for us.