JW Anderson: your picture, our future, his fashion
He is a great ideas man, Jonathan Anderson, whose latest collection had a playful mood, using doughnuts as accessories in a show that featured both men and women; pre-collection and fall collection all on the same runway.
Once again, he staged his show early Saturday morning in Yeomanry House, a small military depot in Bloomsbury, though this time reimagined with a maze-style runway and a series of bizarre sculptures of mushrooms and toadstools.
One often feels like an extra in a Marina Abramovic art installation at Anderson’s shows, one is so close to the models, their clothes brush against the audience as they pass. Backed up by a bravura soundtrack by Michel Gaubert featuring Fever Ray and Deadly Valentine by Charlotte Gainsburg. Exactly the sort of happening girl one expects to see in Anderson’s womenswear.
His big idea now, and for the autumn, a dropped waist and “suspension,” where clothes fall or float away from the torso in various angles. Whether pink calico; or flesh-colored plissé silk; or paisley, like that used in his very first shows a decade ago. An idea inspired by the 70s painter Richard Smith famed for his kite paintings, sculptural monumental canvases.
“The idea was instead of doing four shows, you do two. And in each of them your have men’s and women’s pre and current – so it becomes a continuation,” explained Anderson in a busy backstage.
Besides his resin doughnuts, the designer also offered up Playboy Bunny knit medallions; micro cartridge belts and naughty bar-hopping sailor motifs on wool sweaters.
He is a designer firing on all pistons; with clever rugby laces used to tie up boots with splayed heels; great new bags and, the coolest element of the collection, a series of high-tops in ice lollipop colors. Everything linked together, all the way to the mushroom-shades of the knit sweaters cut in the shape of abstract ghost faces.
For guys, fantastic new pants, cut with double front flaps and nipped at the ankle, and made in khaki wool or sleek calfskin; or a remarkable naval cadets shirt reinvented as a trench coat.
“It’s about refining the fact that a lot of women are buying men’s and vice versa. And have been since we started. So why not neutralize that into one J W Anderson look,” explained the Northern Irishman.
Anderson also had the compliment of a front-row appearance by fellow designer, Raf Simons. “It’s my first show in London and I loved it,” said Simons, attired in an air-force flight jacket.
It all looked rather pretty and very new and supremely optimistic. One reason for Anderson’s latest disruption: he has launched a competition called Your Picture Our Future, to find a new photographer for his next ad campaign. Anyone, anywhere, can send in six original, unpublished images to a jury led by Anderson, which will announce the winner at noon on March 12, 2018. The rules of the competition covered all the bench seats at the show; and read: “The competition will be governed by English law and subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.” Exclusive? Well, Michel Barnier might just have something to say about that implied challenge to European Law.
“I got into fashion somehow by winning an award. And I thought what is modern today and that’s what is next. There is an amazing moment of clear out in fashion now; so let’s try to find what is new,” said Anderson before his backstage mood board.
It remained unclear, however, which clothes in the show would go in the store now, and which in the fall.
“That’s part of the whole surprise. The buyers know… but not the press!” he chuckled.
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