PARIS, France — Fendi scarcely offers itself as the most obvious co-relative for a Junya Watanabe collection, but then again, how often are you given the chance to reflect upon Einstein’s Theory of Relativity twice in one season?
Watanabe’s invitation reproduced pages from some Teutonic ur-text on besondere vielecke, which translated as the equally unilluminating “special polygons,” but all we, the audience, needed to know was that there was physics at work, and, Einstein being so much in the news of late, his spirit could scarcely be far away.
Pure form has often been Watanabe’s preoccupation, as it has been for his mentor Rei Kawakubo. They have defied the limitations of the human form, its utterly finite limbs and torso and dinky little appendages, in pursuit of something more transcendentally abstract.
And so it was with Junya today. The soundtrack married the sound of deep space’s astral storms to keyboard surges of celestial splendour. It suggested order triumphant over chaos, which made it a perfect aural counterpoint to clothing and accessories whose purely geometric shapes were a form of wearable madness, cut from a synthetic material you’d normally find padding the interior of a car.
Abstract though it may have been, it was the exact opposite of taking things apart. It was, insisted Watanabe, about utterly precise hyperconstruction. Which made it too pointy to be playful, which is often how Junya’s collections charm you.
Still, there was something lovely in the way the models looked like dancers with their ballet flats, their arched eyebrows, and their tightly capped heads. You could take that to mean that Watanabe was suggesting physics couldn’t yield the formulas that define all life. There will always be intangibles. Like, for example, the fact that ballerinas defy gravity. And Einstein.