2010 October 4

Runway Reviews: Martin Grant, Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garcons

Martin Grant Spring 2011 Martin Grant Spring 2011
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If neon isn’t immediately thought of as wearable for the everywoman, Martin Grant has an answer for that in his Spring 2011 collection. He may not be uber-directional—clean lines and classic shapes like knee-length shift dresses, piped trench coats, and tailored black pants—but that doesn’t mean boring, as proven by shots of neon pink dashed in geometric lines across a black frock or in a hot one-shouldered floor-length gown. A black pantsuit, a cream long-sleeved dress trimmed in black, a taupe leather strapless number—Grant’s customers want longevity in their clothes, and he gave it to them…but you can only wear so many LBDs, n’est-ce pas?

In all its avant-garde-ness (models wore face-obscuring masks topped with neon-bright wigs), the clothes at Junya Watanabe’s Spring 2011 were as simple as they come: nautical stripes adorned everything from leggings to cardigans to zig-zaggy knit dresses. That doesn’t mean, however, that the collection was one-note. Obvious sailor-vibe aside, there were trench coats in fabulous iterations, from a cropped version with a billowing white skirt to sheer puff-sleeved takes and an oversized black one. Later in the collection, the Japanese deconstruction took hold, rendering stripes on one dress all askew and a final black coat slightly (and deliberately) misshapen. Accessibility may not typically be Watanabe’s ultimate goal, but this collection will make everyone happy.

It may be Spring 2011, but you’re going to want a jacket from Comme des Garcons. In fact, if Rei Kawakubo’s offerings are up your alley, you may want two or three—all in one garment. CDG went a bit surreal for the season, reconstructing coats with arms in places where most people have no arms, with one side of a coat buttoned to another side of an entirely different coat, with thick leather strips encircling tailored white jackets (and in some cases, obstructing the use of the aforementioned real arms, straitjacket-style). This Picasso-esque displacement made for a lot to look at, so the stark black and white palette was a good move (even shoes, the brand’s signature flats, came in laceless saddle-shoe-like black and white brogues) to appreciate Kawakubo’s strong direction and impeccable technique.