The Japanese designer polished up a genuine political disturbance from the past, while London’s David Koma made Mugler sleek, contemporary and relevant to today
Junya Watanabe: Punk revisited
The designer looks back to a decade of anger and upheaval
Punk was a social movement in Great Britain in the 1970s that signified much more than the noisy, rowdy, gaudy sum of its parts.
The spiky hair, the torn and tattered clothes, the wild statements of rage, spitting on the Establishment, and scribbling on portraits of the Queen of England, had far more depth than a fashion revolution. It was a cry of rage at the messy end of a British youth quake. It was, above all, a mirror of the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll culture about to be varnished by the flashy 1980s.
If Japanese designer Junya Watanabe had wanted to mirror the very real anger and despair in current society, from the have-nots in the UK voting against the European Union to the Trump followers in the United States, he could have thought up a means of displaying that uprising in society.
Instead he did an exquisite, fashion rendition of past Punk: translucent spikes circling the body, turned into an origami formation above silver leather jeans or a plastic version of denim with the word “Xtreme” applied on a vertical slant.
Really? “Extremely familiar” would have seemed more appropriate, since we have been living with rubbished jeans, to say nothing of the unbelievably rowdy music, for 40 years.
Then there was the hair that also embraced the spiky theme (yawn) and mesh tights (yawn again). There was just about nothing more from this thoughtful and important designer than second-hand ideas. Add in the T-shirts with what looked like Russian words, suggesting a shadow of the fashion work of Gosha Rubchinskiy. That designer is genuinely angry and, like Vetements, is expressing what could be seen as 21st-century Punk.
Junya Watanabe is too good a designer to cover up his tailored sports clothes and personal spirit on a borrowed concept. There were some fine pieces in the collection, but they were drowned out by the noise – and the spikes.
Mugler: Riding a new wave
Power from the millennium pushes an Eighties star into new waters
As digital projections of blue waves rippled and rolled around the catwalk, the Mugler collection took the plunge from the 1980s to now. Or even somewhere more futuristic, where women wear dresses as reflective as silver paper and the bodices of their dresses swirl around breast and neck.
London-based Georgian designer David Koma is playing an excellent role at Mugler. Even if the main object of his work is to sell more fragrance, the clothes look modern, sleek and at home in a digital world.
That watery blue backdrop was the way he captured his vision, which was mostly short and geometric, but also caught the curve of a wave for trousers with lines winding around the legs.
Based on athletics and convincing enough to seem wearable for day or night, this was a streamlined collection. No matter that the fragrance for Spring/Summer 2017 will be “Hot Cologne”. David Koma has succeeded in making the Mugler brand cool again.