Junya Watanabe Spring 2025 Menswear Collection

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The final sheet of protective plastic was pulled from the red carpet runway. Someone fired up the lights just as someone else’s hastily-extinguished cell phone alarm chirped from near the photographers. Rain drops and angry traffic thudded against the window panes. Welcome to Paris Menswear Friday: the start of the season’s end (at least for menswear).

Dedicated Watanabe watchers might have thought the rouge runway was a nod back to his Sapeurs show. Once this one started, we saw it sort of was. The designer was traversing the territory of display dressing in his distinct and unconventional way.

The typically succinct creator’s statement gave us this: “I have used denim and patchwork a lot in my past collections, but this time I tried to go further in my exploration to find new discoveries.” Watanabe’s quest to the punkier extremes of formal wear started from a basecamp of wool evening suits patched in sometimes embroidered denim, or evening suits that were fashioned almost entirely from wider patches of denim. Counterbalancing the special occasion shine of patent shoes by Tricker’s (the best) were paparazzi-proof sunglasses edged in a halo of pierced grommets.

The next square Watanabe landed on was a phase of evening suiting patched in tartan as well as that sometimes frayed black denim. Then a white-stitched Type III denim jacket made in collaborations with Levi’s was extended into a frock coat whose stitching expressed the sartorial skeleton of the tailored original that was its inspiration. Check patched blue denim evening wear, then black denim evening wear bolstered by white thread machine-applied patches followed.

Next was an extended phase of washed and sometimes distressed blue denim pieces that deconstructed Levi’s paradigms, sometimes blending them directly with black formalwear fabrics. Especially enjoyable was the foreshortened denim opera cloak. That tired Canadian tuxedo gag begged for one more airing. Three canonical tour T-shirts edged with foulard print shifted the lens before a focus on evening shirting that messed with the bib and tucker of tradition with more patching and customization.

A cut to Dusty Springfield’s “Spooky” took us to a summery five-look final section that completed Watanabe’s ascent in mostly white variations of what had come before, with added workwear. This was a great Watanabe wander across positively abnormal formality, served with some fresh New Balance sneakers on the side.

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