Blending the 1950s Americana of the varsity jacket with the tactile, heritage appeal of a Fair Isle knit, with a pleasingly modern result, this jacket is both a fashion statement and stylish enough (thanks to its grounding in menswear classics) to look good for years to come.
The jacket is made in Japan, and has cowhide leather sleeves and pocket trimming. The knitted part is 100% virgin wool, while the jacket is three quarters lined with a soft cupro fabric. There are two internal pockets, and thick, ribbed cuffs, collar and waistband.
The jacket's tag spells out the philosophy behind Junya Watanabe menswear: "Something Real. Something that has history and that has a traditional shape. Our way of originality. A new feeling for basics."
The rubber soles are supplied by the leading Italian manufacturer Vibram, which specialises in high-performance soles for clients including the military and emergency services. The slip-resistant Begonia Morflex soles used on these boots strike a balance between flexibility and bounce which is ideal for city wear and all but the longest walks.
Once described as "the most elusive fashion designer in the world", in a rare interview with The Guardian newspaper, Mr Junya Watanabe shuns media attention and has seldom been photographed. Instead, the designer prefers to let his work do the talking. From his techno couture pieces, which blend high-tech fabrics with traditional construction, to his radically futuristic collections, Mr Watanabe's intellectual approach has seen the introduction of new concepts of cut, fabric and styling, in addition to affirming his position as one of the most influential contemporary designers.
Having graduated from the prestigious Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo in 1984, where fellow alumni include Mr Yohji Yamamoto and Mr Kenzo Takada, Mr Watanabe began working for Comme des Garçons in the same year. Under the guidance of the label's founder, Ms Rei Kawakubo, Mr Watanabe held several positions at the firm, before showing his first independent collection - but still part of the Comme des Garçons group - in 1992 ("whatever Junya does, I don't interfere," Ms Kawakubo explains). Menswear followed in 2001, with Mr Watanabe's men's collections less conceptual and more heritage-inspired than his womenswear. "It is important that you have a purpose when you design menswear," Mr Watanabe explains.
ALSO BY JUNYA WATANABE
THE FAIR ISLE BLAZER
This season Mr Watanabe used Fair Isle in an unexpected way on blazers too, contrasting their sharp tailoring against the homespun feel of the knitted fabric
THE CORDUROY PANEL SHIRT
The heritage vibe which runs throughout the collection is also seen on this neat gingham shirt with a penny collar, with the corduroy pocket and yoke adding a rustic edge
Mr Watanabe's fascination with traditional American style manifests itself in these rugged selvedge denim jeans, with a plaid lining at the cuffs and pockets
THE FIELD COAT
Based on a traditional country jacket, this coat is modernised with leather and corduroy details, a plaid yoke on the back and a bright check lining