J.W. Anderson; What’s Going On?

What with recently being named as creative director at luxury leather house Loewe, as well receiving LVMH investment in his eponymous label, one might say its been a pretty successful year for designer J.W. Anderson. However, his most recent collection shows no sign that the pressure is getting to him; something that bodes well for his upcoming Paris debut for Loewe.

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Indeed, his time spent with Loewe must surely have influenced Anderson’s extensive use of luxury leather for his own Spring/Summer collection, which was one of the designer’s strongest yet in terms of its character and commercial appeal. Anderson is trying to build up his niche, to cement the J.W. Anderson name in collective consciousness by creating polished pieces which are instantly recognisable as his own.

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“We were looking at our DNA, thinking what things made it and how to own them,” the designer explained. “We’ve taken what we’ve been doing and upped it. Reduced it and refined it, until you start to see the woman.”

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So, who is the J.W. Anderson woman? From the looks of these pieces, she hits all the classic markers of an online dating profile; smart, sexy and sophisticated. But she’s also so much more than this; and perhaps it is Anderson’s wide-ranging set of influences and inspirations which reflect the stylish, self-assured woman for whom he is designing.

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Anderson has an interest in mid-century British art, and he cited surrealism, workwear, the psychedelic and “suspended architecture” as his starting points for this set of designs. The surrealist sensibility, perhaps, is most obvious in his slightly jarring layering of seemingly disparate garments and materials (most notably the leather midriffs) in a way that Anderson described as “wallpaper, something domestic.”

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Meanwhile big, brass buttons on jackets and those colourful terry-towelling mini-suits had something of a nautical, sailor-ish air about them.

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Floppy leather fisherman hats simultaneously framed and shrouded the models’ faces, creating an almost mysterious vibe, whilst origami-like folds rose around lapels and bodices. This was femininity at its most structured, its most geometric.  “I like the idea of having to look up into the woman,” the designer said; the J.W. Anderson Woman has been born.

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