Junya Watanabe (Japanese, born 1961), for Comme des Garçons (French, founded 1969)
Ivory polyester chiffon and gray and silver polyester velvet
Purchase, Richard Martin Bequest, 2001 (2001.742a,b)
As a designer for Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe excelled by fusing Kawakubo's confrontational approach to traditional form with his own love of hyperbole and ironic historicism. Impressed by his interest in tactile manipulation, Rei Kawakubo helped Watanabe found his own fashion house, which currently offers some of the most avant-garde constructions in Japanese fashion.
The ruff's accelerated inflation to shoulder-wide dimension in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries did not anticipate Junya Watanabe's torso-encompassing rendering of the style. To accomplish the extraordinary scale of his ruff, Watanabe required a polyester chiffon that could hold its shape. No silk organza was able to do so. Despite all its reliance on technological innovation for the fabric, this design, from Watanabe's "Techno Couture" collection, was stitched together by hand.