Junya Watanabe (Japanese, b. 1961) for Comme des Garçons (French, founded 1969). Ensemble, fall/winter 2000–1. Pale greige polyester organza and silver polyester and cellophane panné velvet. Purchase, Richard Martin Bequest, 2001 (2001.742a, b)
Junya Watanabe referred to his fall/winter 2000–2001 collection as “techno-couture.” Indeed, this ensemble, with the explicit flourish of labor and controlled technique in its gargantuan, honeycomb ruff and the innovative fabrics of cutting-edge technology, merges both the artisanal and the experimental. The ruff, which is separate from the dress, can be collapsed into a small looped rectangle and stored in an envelope. The dress itself is a sleeveless sheath with a narrow flared hem. It is draped in such a way as to introduce some angled bunching at the waist and hipline, as if the dress has been skewed inadvertently. That this “imperfection” is built into the dress is a manifestation of the designer’s subtly “twisted” and subversive ideal of imperfect beauty.