Junya Watanabe and Visvim: American Style in Japan

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Japanese have a long-standing fascination with classic American fashion, or, as they call the style, ametora. But over the past couple of years that interest has grown into a full-blown obsession. Which means the coolest modern Americana isn't coming from New York or L.A. or anywhere in between—it's coming from Tokyo.

The Mix Master: Three looks from Watanabe's spring collection.

Junya Watanabe: The Reconstructionist
Like a high-fashion Dr. Frankenstein, the Japanese designer Junya Watanabe starts with timeworn classics—Brooks Brothers shirts, Levi's jeans, and other taken-for-granted basics—and reanimates them, strategically adding a quirky stitch, tweaking the silhouette, or layering on fabrics. "In choosing whom to collaborate with," Watanabe says, "I always consider brands that possess history and legacy—something real—then I interpret their traditional shapes in my own way." The resulting mash-ups, a signature element in his collections, represent the best in U.S.-Nippon cooperation.

Photographs by Maria Valentino/MCV Photo
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