London, United Kingdom – Welcome to a new world of absolute necessity: JW AndersonThe first collections for 2021 were shipped not on a runway but in an A4 sized cardboard box, and our post-show interview was a Zoom after delivery. You heard what they say about the need to be the mother of the invention? Anderson provided definitive, even dazzling, evidence.
As much as it served the function of the debut of his new designs for men and women, the box was also a window into a world of imagination, with many interlocking components, like almost a puzzle. One of the lockdown spinoffs was people who had time to play board games, create puzzles and crosswords. Anderson recognized the connection when he compared his box to a time capsule. “You stick it on a bookshelf and one day it will fall out, and all this stuff will be on the floor and you will remember that we all had to be forced to self-reflect indoors.” That thought cheered him up. He said he struggled with the place of fashion in a hugely disrupted world. He liked the idea that fashion is always a mirror.
So if you put all the pieces together in Anderson’s box, what did you get? Aside from photos of the clothes and accessories, printed in various sizes, there were clothing fabric monsters, and a pack of handmade nails so you could stick the checkered cloth with Anderson’s mission – “In a time of uneven connections, I thought the show should come to you” – if you wanted. There were pressed flowers and small cards printed with sayings such as “The end is the beginning” and “The future is unwritten,” the kind of things that fall from old books or from Alice’s bag when she was on her way to Wonderland, “little things that mean more than you think. ” There was also a mask by Pol Anglada, who designed the graphics for the men’s collection and the masks for the mannequins. “Imaginary characters,” Anderson called them. The circular counterparts for women were hand-woven by Bertjan Pot, an artist he found online.
Although he insisted there was no story, he did portray his characters in dialogue. And what a rich cast they were. I imagined a country house, or at least a hermetic environment, possibly closed by a catastrophe (war or pandemic?), So that everyone was given the freedom to spoil themselves. Hence the playfulness of proportions, pompoms and pillows. The men’s and women’s clothing (spring for him, refuge for her) intertwined. Refinement and naivety of shared space: surreal, grimly glamorous tuxedo dressing and curvy pre-cut dresses versus a sailboat hand-knitted (based on his grandmother’s embroidery point) or a boyish, multi-colored nylon hoodie. I saw a sailor with nautical stripes, a poacher in a jacket with bellow pockets, a crazy uncle in a high-waisted sleeveless dress with a looped cotton skirt, an elegant aunt in a handkerchief-lined collage of silk scarves.
During my imaginary house party, there was a family member who had recently been in Vienna with Dr. Freud – or was that Dr. Seuss? – and came back with a little bit of hypnotherapy. A tunic with a spiral motif look deep in my eyes – was shown in knit for men, jersey for women. In both cases, the sleeves were insanely elongated. Anderson liked the madness. He cheerfully pulled the poster of a deconstructed trench-turned cape from his box. “I don’t think it could have ever been done on a model, it’s more of a sculpture idea.”
With the mansion analogy, the faded brocades, tapestries and damask and floral linen suggested upholstery or wallpaper. “You know when you move into a house and you loosen the layers of the people who used to live there,” Anderson mused. He thought of his coats, the same sleek, flared silhouette, but endlessly reinvented through manufacturing. “The room is going to be something else, even if it’s basically the same.” It was a romantic, almost moving idea. “Admittedly, I may have become more romantic during this process.”
But it also sounded like Anderson was supported by his passion for craft. After his first crisis, he realized there was no way he would extinguish it something. He says his whole team felt the same way. “Even if it was never seen or sold, we had to complete the process.” And he was inspired by all the others who knit and garden furiously during quarantine. “We shouldn’t forget that, we should try to stick to it.” That is one reason why Anderson released the pattern online for the vest worn by Harry Styles, which was copied by hundreds of closed house knitters. He has the same fever. “I want to make things again this summer. I haven’t had anything to do with fashion since the Hepworth exhibition three years ago. ‘
Meanwhile, there was his quarantine box. “This is one of the most personal things I’ve ever done,” said Anderson. But there may come a time when this very personal collection of clothing and charming souvenirs will seem like a capsule of the strangest moment the rest of us, with any luck, will ever have to go through.
The images in this review, courtesy of JW Anderson, are not the complete JW Anderson Men’s Spring / Summer 2021 and Women’s Resort 2020/21 collection.