Men’s – There’s Optimism. JW Anderson AW20

For the autumn-winter 2020 season, here’s where you should go for the best coats: JW Anderson. At his name-sake label, Jonathan Anderson offers gorgeous blanket-wrap poncho-like coats, made in a number of variations: classic grey wool, in paisley print, in hounstooth… some come accessorized with heavy gilt chains swathed as belts (the designer also used them as shoe jewelry and as sewn-on half-necklaces). A pictogram of a house on fire, a print that appeared on knits and in the general imagery of the collection, was Anderson’s take on AIDS activist and mixed-media artist David Wojnarowicz, who sprayed these on derelict East Village buildings in 1982. Anderson is known for bringing almost forgotten art to the ambiance of his shows – both for his own label and at Loewe. But this rediscovery struck a deeper chord for the generations protesting against establishment intransigence in the face of apocalyptic crisis. It resonated in Anderson’s remark at the end of the show. Amid the anguish of the AIDS fatalities in the 1980s and 1990s – which Wojnarowicz documented, fought, and eventually succumbed to – “it felt like the end of the world,” the designer observed. “But it wasn’t. As much as some of it’s really heavy, there’s an optimism. There will be a solution.”

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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