Stay Curious. JW Anderson Resort 2021 + Men’s SS21

From all the resort and men’s collections we’ve seen so far this summer, it’s JW Anderson‘s take on a fashion show presentation in the times of COVID-19 that feels most different and somewhat suited for the current circumstances. Is it possible to convey feeling and tactility without being physically at the show? Of course yes – just see those marvelous press-kits that Jonathan Anderson has sent out to all the press and friends of the label. He also tells the entire logic behind them in this video. Created with available resources in rather limited conditions, men’s spring-summer and women’s resort 2021 are a playful celebration of what being restricted can mean and spawn in creative terms. The divide between wardrobes is intentionally blurry, but still present. What in menswear takes a slouchy feel in womenswear gets a classic sense of poise and elegance (something Anderson examined so masterfully in his show last February). Presented on fictional characters – enlarged personalities with heads illustrated by the super talented Pol Anglada or masked by Bertjan Pot – the collection juxtaposes notions of pragmatism and playfulness within a context of cozy domesticity. Volumes are round and enveloping, or elongated and sleepy, with blown-up details that keep their function in off-kilter scale, and unexpected touches providing jolly, frivolous diversions. Dresses, capes, pillow sweaters, cropped trousers, elongated jumpers and loafer mules reiterate and recon-textualize tropes of the brand’s DNA. Patchworked jockey coats sprout patch pockets as roomy as bags. Sleeves get excessively long, trailing to the floor. Military capes spawn an excess of buttons. Long knits have an home-spun immediacy and a cozy intimacy. Slits create movement on tailored pieces. Pompoms (!) draw the giddy contours of a plain sleeveless jumper. Blanket stitching underlines the addition and accumulation of elements. Texture, either real or suggested by way of print on fabric as well as knit, adds another layer to the story: brocade impressions, tapestry motifs, targets, stripes, flowers, Anglada’s erotic, blown-up faces. A sentiment of youthful, care-free amusement is here – and that’s we all really need right now.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Nouveau Chic. JW Anderson AW20

JW Anderson was brilliant! “Nouveau chic” was the term Jonathan Anderson coined for his autumn-winter 2020 collection. The designer mentioned he’d been thinking about what it takes to enter a room – and clothes are the first (and the best) communicators. The ability to take up space with a strong silhouette is part of that – starting with the impression one can make with a fabulous coat. There were three iterations of huge trapeze shapes in tweed, camel hair, and black wool: blown-up classics with generous leather shawl collars that will catch attention wherever you are. This season, not only the couture silhouettes stunned, but as well the innovative, sci-fi direction of the fabrics. It came with a puff of what Anderson called “antique celluloid” around the shoulders. It was part of the experimental theme that played around the sleeves of a series of black dresses. In a strapless version, it fell like an angel-wing cape around the model’s arms. The simpler offering was delightful as well. Take rib-knit dresses with caped shoulders or a shawl-collar black tuxedo suit. Now I can’t wait to see what Anderson cooked up at Loewe for this season…

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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.