Now, a lot of arguments can be made here about the choice of a collection RELEASED in 2009 as opposed to showed in 2009 and some might argue that MAN for Comme des Garcons should only count as a capsule collection, but, to do so is to discredit from what in my opinion was far and away the best collection of the year, if not of the decade.

Junya broke every last rule in the book with his current season collection (A/W 2009). While Crockstar Limited originally covered Watanabe’s rulebreaking collection in August I have had the opportunity to think back on the collection with a bit of hindsight and with the benefit of comparison to other collections. In addition to combining blue, black and brown/natural leather (ill advised really) as well as fire orange and red (unheard of). Junya took outdoor chic and made it trendy for city and streetwear. Watanabe’s collection basically takes some classic hints from the likes of L.L. Bean and mashes them up with the typical “cut and paste” flair preferred by Comme des Garcons making good use of a bit of streetwear edge.

The cuts were almost a full season ahead of what might have been expected and Watanabe’s foresight is what gives him the credibility to be sold both in the basement at Dover Street Market and a prominent feature in GQ magazine, a spot on the coveted menswear racks of Liberty of London and a number of features in Highsnobiety. Watanabe toes the line between art and functionality and between edgy streetwear and classic menswear.

The colorways were quite obviously inspired by traditional autumn and winter colors as were the materials, his use and combination of these “traditional” motifs however are what separates this collection from others like it and what separate Watanabe from the rest. A collection that truly must be seen and -perhaps more importantly- felt, the combination of fabrics warrants every painstaking pound that a piece of this collection will set you back (close to a grand for many fo the jackets). Clasically trained by the same teachers as Yohji Yamamoto and heavily influenced by CdG creator founder Rei Kawakubo it is no wonder that Watanabe combined classic with experimental, past with future and threw down the best collection this year.

A great way to end a decade which saw a number of trends and a general lack of a full on style that embodied the era… I would not be shocked if this collection defines what is meant by fashion design in the “noughties”.

Watanabe’s attention to detail is unmatched. 10 out of 10.

All Images: GQ Magazine from Paris A/W 2009