Junya Watanabe refers to the famous Japanese Fashion Designe born in Tokyo, Japan in 1961. Watanabe is the
the much-feted protege of Comme des Gargons' Rei Kawakubo . He graduated from the Bunka Fashion College in 1984, afterwards, he immediately joined Comme des Gargons as a pattern-cutter.
By 1987 he was designing Comme des Gargons' Tricot line.
In 1992, Watanabe, presented his first solo collection at the Tokyo collections; a year later, he showed at Paris Fashion Week. During those times, ahe was already designing under his own name, but he was at the same time still employed by Comme des Garcons, who fund and produce his collections.
In 1993, Watanabe started his own line under the Comme Des Garcons name called "Junya Watanabe Comme Des Garcons" in 1993 and began showing in Paris that same year.
Despite an obvious debt to Rei Kawakubo in his work, Watanabe still stands apart from his mentor and friend with a vision that is indisputably his own. He has often used technical or functional fabrics, creating clothes that still retain a sense of calm and femininity. This was displayed most explicitly at his autumn/winter 1999 show, where the catwalk was under a constant shower of water: rain seemed to splash off the outfits, which were created in fabric by the Japanese company Toray, who develop materials for extreme conditions.
His cutting-edge, critically acclaimed designs, were often often bolstered by some technical innovation, such as waterproofing, glow-in-the-dark fiber, hence, Watanabe is considered by the fashion industry as a "techno-couture" Designer.
Despite the wealth of creativity on display, Watanabe's clothes were a response to more fundamental issues: a practical answer to conditions and lifestyles. In contrast to this, Watanabe's designs are also an exercise in sensitivity and, through his remarkably complex pattern-cutting, his sculptural clothing presents a virtually unrivalled delicacy.
In 2001, Watanabe presented his first menswear collection in Paris, Today, he is one of the most celebrated designers in Paris fashion.
In 2003 New York Fashion Week, the avant-garde designer developed simple and sporty glow-in-the-dark shorts, pantsuits and white shirts by treating fabric with a paste made of crushed luminescent stones.
For Spring 2007, Watanabe collaborated with and was licenced by Converse to design a series of All-Star shoes. He made six (6) versions of the low Chuck Taylor with all sorts of different patterns and materials in use, each in several colorways that came out. There is one checkered version that comes in navy blue, black and red and reminds of Vans and Skateboarding and then there is a model that has a plaid pattern in two colorways. All styles looking pretty classic and still we have never seen them like this before. Junya Watanabe always manages to present something classic and usually simple in design, yet it is completely new. Always striking and one thinks that the idea is easy, but somehow only the best in the world manage to do that.
April 2009, was a big break for Watanabe, as First Lady Michelle Obama wore his own argyle asymmetrical (patchwork) cardigan in mosaic blue over yet another Jason Wu frock while still in London with president Obama for the G-20 Summit, particularly in the London's Royal Opera House.
For Fall/Winter 2009, thelong standing collaboration between Junya Watanabe Comme des Garcons and Levi's continues Watanabe applied lots of leather and plaid patches to the denim, infusing the hunting and fishing theme which is seen through-out the entire collection, into the classic denim.
In collaboration with Tricker"s, Junya Watanabe Comme des Garcons presents a new low suede shoe and boots as part of their Fall/Winter 2009 Collection. The shoe is perfect for the colder times this season and the color is well chosen, making it easy to match. The shoe collection is now vailable at Colette.
At the Victoria and Albert Museum's Junya Watanabe Installation, Watanabe's technical brilliance can be seen in the "Techno Couture" Collection on display. Each garment is made of hundreds of layers of polyester chintz stitched to form a complex fabric structure. Such imagination married to "Science Non-Fiction", as he calls it, is typical of Watanabe's work. He is truly one of fashion's great innovators.
List of books: Junya,Watanabe