“I WANTED to juxtapose opposing fabrics; mix pleather with leather, cotton with nylon, and silk with polyester,” explained Jonathan Anderson, backstage. “I also wanted to challenge myself and explore new fabrics – like jersey”. In his world, jersey is brave, uncharted territory – not, the quilted houndstooth pleather top that looked like spongy soundproofing.
Everything was incredibly tactile (backstage well-wishers felt compelled to touch anything they could get their hands on) which in itself was in direct opposition to the clinical lines here – which, by the way weren’t anywhere near as simple as that might have sounded.
JW Anderson has been forging ahead with conceptualism and experimenting with new forms and silhouettes for some seasons now. Leather tops with generous funnel necks were ribbed like corrugated cardboard, or else pleated into herringbone formations. Sculptural hemlines were sliced and diced, jagged and broken up, some with knotted aprons, semi-peplums, others just with additional squares of fabric that jutted out at an angle in the manner of a jacket tied around the waist.
Japanese folding, pinching, and intricate origami smocking – feats of craftsmanship and, one imagines, patience – added 3D verve to his mostly black and stark white surfaces. But there were super basic items too stripped of any decoration, like a top constructed from one square of leather. It covered the torso and was fastened over the shoulders and across the back with a single piece of string – beautiful in its simplicity. Elsewhere full-length gowns in sheer, shimmery-powdered nylon, comprised a series of sensual drapes either side of a central spine, so whisper-weight, they would collapse into nothing off the body.
There was plenty here that editors and buyers will both like, and that can be a tricky balance to strike; what a stylist deems desirable doesn’t always fly from the shop floor, but this is a designer who more than understands the commercial needs of this business, a best-selling Topshop collaboration taught him that. Amongst everything new (and there was plenty here to fathom) it was welcoming to see some Anderson-isms developing: sliced sweaters, knotted details (that scaled the miniature to the gargantuan), torso-to-arm bandaging, and a follow up to his hit takeaway-box clutch from resort. The next one to covet comes in the shape of a drawstring paper bag re-imagined in leather, or, as he put it: “I was thinking a lot about domesticity; they were like little bin bags, you know, a girl taking out the rubbish.” Here, hyper-ordinary is anything but. Above all else, it was a collection that cemented this young designer’s position – the fact that he is only in his twenties is remarkable.
To shop more JW Anderson visit: www.jwanderson.com