J. W. Anderson: Pert, perverse and yet polished
Got to hand it to Jonathan Anderson, this was the most interesting show in Milan menswear this season. Not maybe the best collection, or best clothes, but the most stimulating intellectual exercise.
From the quirky telephone-chip-in-matt-back paper invites or the naughty medieval booties, to the micro-shorts meets underwear that were real stars of this show.
“It’s about reduction, and the idea of ownership. About creating a wardrobe, where gender became part of the zeitgeist, part of where we have to go as a society,” explained Anderson, in his backstage inside a former factory on Via Tortona, the south Milan street that is the central spine of modern menswear.
His first two models marching in wee pairs of knickers, S&M Seventh Seal booties and not much else. Followed by three handsome dudes – a black guy in black wool dress, and two white guys in white sheathes; all of them clutching pillows, strawberries stencilled on thighs and arms.
His opening gallants in shorts and boots carrying two big bolts of fabric, “to express the idea of starting afresh.”
In between a series of brilliant coats, their waistline cut below the crotch. Thrilling tailoring in battleship grey fine wool or battered waxy leather. He went back to the ruffle shorts of his earliest seasons.
“I have never gone back, but I felt I had to. A raw state of mind, working with tension where a bag becomes a shoe or shoe becomes a bag. The idea that you are committed to something,” explained Anderson, referencing zippered boots with lots of S&M locks.
“I like this idea of looking at subversion. Of looking at great masters like Vivienne Westwood. In a weird way when I was at university that was the go-to. We should not be scared by perversion,” he philosophised. After presenting the coat of the season, the drop-waisted parka duffle coat, a martyrdom image every Generation kid will dream owning.
In an era, where LGBTQ+ rights are under intense attack from anti-woke reactionaries on social media, right tabloids and soi-disant learned dailies, Anderson’s position was progressive.
“It is about not shaming, and instead about owning things. And in fashion I think we are too scared of owning things. I love menswear because it’s about a constructive dialogue, and it’s about contradicting myself. Fashion is a mirror and that’s what it should be,” added Anderson, in his time-honoured habit of not quite looking editors directly in the eye.
In corporate news, Jonathan confirmed the brand wants to stay in Milan, after embracing Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera della Moda, who generously invited Anderson on to the official show calendar.
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