After a stirring and unexpected show, J.W. Anderson talks us through the post-war artists and agrarian idylls that informed a very British collection.
You used a soundtrack of dramatic chamber music, and a lot of the looks had baroque flourishes, surprising protrusions from the body. Were you looking more to the past or the future?
I think it was a bit of both. I liked this element of post-war art, that moment with Barbara Hepworth and Graham Sutherland. There was something I liked in that group of people and their commitment during and after the war, and how they dealt with it. And then I looked at how you can convey that in a modern world without it being costume, because you have to progress. I looked at that time, I looked at dresses, I looked at corduroy - because it was maybe unappealing to me before - and broke everything down a bit. I took bias cutting and used it in a way that made it something else, used the shape to propose something different. Break it, rebuild it, contort it. Make it something that was a bit rooted, farm-like, peasant; but at the same time with elements of modernity, cloud-like.
You had a lot of sculptural pieces, and you've mentioned Barbara Hepworth, and you also had that passage of paint-splattered dresses.
They kind of look like bronze, like the texture of a Henry Moore bronze. We de-embossed leather, and we screened it so it was like a run-off. We wanted to make it feel like the body was made out of bronze and brass, and texturalised and made to look old. That's why we did an orange and a red, so you have a close perception of trial and error.
It almost felt monastic to me in parts. How is this collection supposed to make its wearers feel: chaste... powerful... sexy?
I feel like this woman's very confident, she knows exactly what she's about, and I always think that has an inner dirtiness. I think this woman's more dirty, which I think is more attractive.
Cool I agree. Thank you!