Junya Watanabe

Because reclusive COMME des GARÇONS designer Junya Watanabe keeps an extremely low profile — seriously, there are barely even any photos of the guy — we can only make inferences about Watanabe's personal taste by taking cues from his clothing collections.

But Fall/Winter 2022 only proves something that we already kinda knew: Junya Watanabe has great taste in music. We wanna see his Spotify playlists!

Specifically, Watanabe's FW22 menswear collection is an ode to the inimitable style of Jay Kay, the front-man of acid jazz ensemble Jamiroquai.

Best known for hits like "Space Cowboy," "Canned Heat," and "Virtual Insanity," the British band's smooth funk tunes dominated international pop charts in the early aughts and, honestly, they kick just as much ass nowadays.

Jamiroquai is secondarily recognized for singer Jay Kay's eclectic outfits, always topped off with some inspired headgear.

In looking Kay up, I realized that he's claimed arguably appropriative inspiration from the Native American Iroquois tribe — Jamiroquai is a portmanteau of "Jam" and "Iroquois" — but at least he isn't wearing headdresses anymore, I suppose.

Anyways, Watanabe has made his musical inclinations part of his menswear collections for a long while, recently incorporating lyrics from rapper Loyle Carner into his Fall/Winter 2021 menswear collection and inviting Tokyo DJ Bryan Burton-Lewis to model for Spring/Summer 2021.

Virgil Abloh memorably borrowed Kay's style for a 2019 Louis Vuitton collection but Watanabe's approach is more straightforward.

The Japanese designer's FW22 lookbook opts for headwear that looks almost identical to the stuff that Kay rocks on-stage (though Watanabe's were made by Benny Andallo), with the models dancing to Kenji Takimi & Gonno's seven-minute-long "Virtual Insanity" edit in the accompanying video.

As usual, Watanabe's menswear collection is packed with collaborations beyond even the Jamiroquai nods, though Kay's personal wardrobe clearly inspire the cargo-pocketed jackets and slimmed-down jeans.

The Secretariat of Culture of Mexico and Pendleton provided some of the wild woolen patterns that grace hybrid bombers, anoraks, and work jackets, again riffing on Kay's own garments.

Collabs with Carhartt, Levi's, Karrimor, New Balance, Stepney Worker's Club, and some other old pals enliven the affair though this is arguably Watanabe at his tamest, in terms of silhouette and styling.

Then again, hard to complain about Watanabe delivering perfectly wearable and, dare I say, funky menswear. The collection's only missing a giant pink fleece.

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