Odd Elegance. JW Anderson SS20

For the second season now, Jonathan Anderson seems to be experimenting with odd elegance at his name-sake label. There’s something both ritualistic and futuristic about his draped tunics with jewelled bras tied on with rope straps, and chunky, crystal studded belts worn to one side of the hip. Who is this woman? Where is she heading to? There’s something unexplainably refined about her, and definitely elusive. Tailored jackets and coats with contrasting lapels where also embellished with rhinestones, in circular patterns, while the mainly earthy colour palette was contrasted with the least expected detail: silver and gold lamé. Non-chalance is the new norm for spring-summer 2020, that’s visible across countless of shows we’ve seen up to date. The fringed, knitted and highly crafted elements felt Loewe-ish, which is actually new to J.W. Anderson (the designer never mixes his codes between the two brands he designs at). Still, they work in this collection very well, even though they might not match at a first glance.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Design Exercise. JW Anderson SS20

For his spring-summer 2020 collection for men (and resort 2020 for women), Jonathan Anderson took an approach he applies at his Loewe. While discussing J.W. Anderson‘s latest collection, the designer mentioned that it’s “not about a styling exercise, but a design exercise.” Part of it was working on cutting away the sleeves of trench coats and tailored jackets to construct geometric wings and leave a drape in the back. He said he’d developed that silhouette after the “ideas about the ’40s and billowing shapes” that he’d shown previously in his womenswear collection. The deconstruction of the tuxedo dressing continued into lapel scarves and dress shirts. There’s no gendered distinction in these clothes. “All sizes can wear that,” he said. Meanwhile, the less ‘formal’ part of the collection consisted of patchworked knits, cable-knit head-bands, shoes made of multi-coloured felt (depicting a sort of pointilist landscape) and flowing, crotchet shawls and dresses. All this feels very warm-hearted, artisanal,  beautifully folkloric even. While Anderson nails each season at Loewe, lately I wasn’t that convinced about the work he did for his namesake brand. But this collection is one of his best.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Time for Fantasy. JW Anderson AW19

Jonathan Anderson’s autumn-winter 2019 collection was a play with construction. From the architectural grey coats and statuesque shoulder pads to fluid-like drapes and airy, over-sized frocks, this was a JW Anderson line-up, where you can actually turn to a number of completely different things. Also, as it turned out, Anderson wanted to go ‘fashion’ this season, in this today rare, uplifting, statement-making manner. “The idea of a woman walking on clouds – this idea of fantasy and imagination in fashion,” he backstage. “I mean, that’s why we do it.” While the last few shows he presented for women at his namesake brand felt overly sophisticated, this one was a like a much-needed, carefree moment. Not ridiculous or pretentious, but joyous and with a bit of distance.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Moving Bodies. JW Anderson AW19

Undoubtedly, Jonathan Anderson‘s leap from London to Paris resulted in an even more uninspiring men’s London fashion week this season. Well, good for the latter. J.W. Anderson kicked off the Parisian schedule with a brilliantly diverse collection, made up of the boys’ autumn-winter 2019 and the girls’ pre-fall 2019. At a first sight, ‘chaos’ is a word that comes to your mind while going through the collection. The models wore medieval-esque hoods with over-sized bermuda shorts, boldly striped tops and huge bracelets. Another look had fringed trousers, an exaggerated sailor collar and an absolutely distorted knit that no longer can be classified as a sweater. The women’s part was rich in polka-dots, XXL shirting and equally voluminous dresses worn over hoodies or with huge pussy-bows. The venue, filled with Paul Thek’s art installations, was a mash-up of vintage rugs, floor drawings. And of course, there was this huge, balloon globe. Everything here seemed to be full of some unidentified energy. Those garments had the vibrance that instantly reminds of Bodymap, the London-based brand that was on everybody’s lips in the 80s. Whatever stood behind the collection this time around, one thing’s clear: Anderson does it again. The strange and odd looks familiar and desirable. I’m extremely looking forward to get those zebra-print socks.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

I Love Fashion. JW Anderson AW16

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The autumn-winter 2016 collection delivered by J.W. Anderson is a playful continuation of the designer’s spring collection and pre-fall look-book – and it proves that Jonathan Anderson wants to have fun with fashion, too. “I love fashion! It should be fashion” is what he declared backstage of his London fashion show, perfectly stating the nature of the new season – there was something about the 60’s, looking at the mini-skirts with curvy, leather cut-outs and multi-colour ruffles. There was a sense of softness in these fluffy “clouds”, while the fur hoodies were like a Anderson-revisited nod to hip-hop music. Yet, the chain mail-like studs had you wondering about the much more harsh, punk side of the designer, which we’ve experienced in his last menswear outing. The collection didn’t have a one, straight line of references or inspirations, however it had a humorous, Pierre Cardin-ish outer space character. To conclude, these voluminous, edgy clothes made it clear – Jonathan is taking us to his playground.

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Men’s – Future Vamps. JW Anderson AW16

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Jonathan Anderson takes his brand, and his creative vision, to a totally undiscovered and widely misunderstood field. You can love it, hate it, ignore it or praise it – but still, J.W. Anderson is the most absorbing brand coming from London. The city buzzed about the menswear show for autumn-winter 2016 season a long time before the show-day – it was reported that the brand will live-stream the fashion show on a dating-app, Grindr, presenting the show within a few seconds to about seven million people. Just like that. Without much effort.

Maybe the PR of Anderson are genius – but surely, the brand knows how to excite in the media sphere. However, streaming the collection on a dating app is not such a strange idea. The codes of the brand are focused on “future”, and “perversity” – somehow, a dating app is all about sex and modern way of life, right? And the collection for men definitely didn’t lack any of those. The looks, which fused the everyday basics, like a chunky cardigan or a simple, British mackintosh coat, had something modernistic about them – new, over-sized silhouettes, high-tech fabrics (take a look at this transparent, organza-like piece, printed with a dog called Bonzo from the 20s) and the seriously ugly planet-Zenon trainers with pastel-pink toe. But still, these techno vamps had something to do with a perverse, clubbing manner – the models’ hair, which was held back, looked dirty from a hard night out. Some wore perspex chokers, modestly ornamented with silver studs – and some had those cheesy hoop ball earrings on. To make even more extraordinary, one look was focused on a camel coat, worn over a naked body, and a pair of, again, Zenon shoes.

But looking back at the animals in the collection – everybody noticed the turquoise snails, which were lazily stuck to a rabbit-fur jacket and a white pea-coat. Was Jonathan trying to convey a message? SLOW DOWN? The frustration of fashion’s speed, which made Alber and Raf say “bye” to Lanvin and Dior, is a struggle for most of young designers, as they need to be creative for 24/7, do their best to afford pre-collections and have a perfect, on-time stock for the retailers. Or maybe, Anderson ironically said “catch me if you can” to all the others in the industry? This guy is a real propeller of ideas, so why not show it off in the most bright and bold aspect of the collection?

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