PARIS, France — Junya Watanabe’s new collection was, we were informed, “an homage to curious natural forms of nature.” Think about the way wind and waves work on rocks, creating curves and arches and organic shapes. The challenging silhouettes that have been Junya’s own signature over the years were highly compatible with such a notion. Here there were three-dimensional effects which gently echoed erosion or geological disturbances.
His major collaboration this time was with Marimekko, the Finnish textile company whose bold patterns, also inspired by abstracted nature, contributed to the style of the 50s and 60s. (Look closely and you might have seen the words “Made in Finland” discreetly inserted into one pattern.) Even polka dots were, according to Junya’s translator, an abstract of nature.
But if the show began in birdsong, and continued to the bucolic sounds of folk rock and Johnny Mathis, there was much else that evoked the often violent disruptions in the natural order that have come to preoccupy us in the past year. The palette was monochrome, black and white, except for a couple of colour spots on the most distinctive Marimekko pattern, and a group of camouflage prints. Junya has history with camo, most dramatically in his Travis Bickle men’s collection for Autumn/Winter 2006. Its inevitable connotations with conflict worked well here with the central styling conceit of the show — nails. Woven into hair like a Mohawk of metal, projecting lethally from dog collars and cuffs, they gave the collection a literal point. Nature’s a bitch, and we’d best not piss her off. As a comment on climate change, the message might have been oblique, but it was unbeatable.