JW Anderson's fluid new bohemianism
Fluidity that was – counter-intuitively – often represented in patchwork clothing was the key to a rather brilliant collection from Jonathan Anderson, one that seems likely to define the current London season.
Dresses that swept away from the torso, composed on large rectangular swathes of contrasting fabrics – from chalk stripe linen to floating chiffon – cut with handkerchief hems and flowing as the models dashed by. Semi see-through extended men’s shirt dresses with contrasting plaques.
Many finished with lace breastplates, and roughly hemmed and fringed. All paired with his latest Pro-Ked mini-platform sneakers, or snazzed-up boyish spats and booties. The latter finished with double metal pins, so they looked blurred when seen while walking.
“A little more bohemian and a celebration of fashion through texture,” explained the designer in a crowded backstage.
Every model wore leather pirate caps, to encourage the audience not to take in a singular face but to help you focus on the clothing. That way the models were less like characters and the show was a clothing proposition.
Once again, he staged his show inside Yeomanry House, a small military warehouse in central London. Though a recent trip to the V&A, and its displays of ironwork, led to several scores of black wrought-iron fences dividing up the runway.
“It’s a very British thing, like a garden gate and we turned that into screens,” added Anderson.
Anderson was also influenced by the ideas of American artist Lynda Benglis, and a T-shirt she created in 1974, on the empowerment of woman. Benglis’ most noted image, seen on an Artforum cover, is of a slim, tanned woman, largely naked, wearing shades and an enormous erect penis.
“And, I asked myself what is the empowerment of fashion today. How do you empower the look of the wearer and I believe that is through fluidity. Where everything became something that moved off the body. That you don’t see it as something static. It has to be seen on someone walking. It’s about taking another avenue so you can reinvent the idea of re-invention in your work,” said Anderson.
Anderson can talk in a highfalutin manner, but he does firmly believe these words. Moreover, his fashion, while not cheap, is relatively accessible to a large millennial audience.
“Our price point is not that exaggerated. Our bags at the top end are 1,200 euros and our clothes don’t cost more than that either. So, I think we are still pretty open,” said Anderson, who is today the unquestioned leader of London fashion.
This marked the first show since the appointment of a new CEO at the house, Jenny Galimberti, a highly experienced exec whose most recent position was global communications director of Louis Vuitton, the largest brand with LVMH.
The French luxury conglomerate is both the largest outside investor in Anderson’s own house and his employer, seeing as Anderson’s night job is as creative director of Loewe, LVMH’s leading Spanish label.
“A beautiful show. Jonathan is a designer of great talent and energy. We are very happy with him both here and at Loewe,” underlined Sidney Toledano, on his extended tour of inspection of his division. Toledano is the Chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group, consisting of LVMH’s other brands: Céline, Kenzo, Loewe, Marc Jacobs and Emilio Pucci.
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