j.w.anderson’s genre hopping spring/summer 17
From the English Renaissance to the colours of the European countryside, the Northern Irish designer took us on a journey through time and space this season.
Jonathan Anderson is as much a curator as he is a creator; something born out by the recent announcement that he's set to do some actual, art world, curating next year, at the Hepworth Gallery in Yorkshire. A show, Disobedient Bodies, that will bring together his fashion and art influences to explore his fascination with the human form; from Louise Bourgeois to Comme Des Garcons.
If one thing defines the young designer in his work at his own brand and at Loewe, it's his ability to magpie inspiration from wherever he finds it, and bring it together in his own world; he's a designer of his time, cutting-and-pasting influences, forms, places, ideas, and images together into a collage that is remarkably his own. This season his collection was defined mainly by the tackling of one of fashion's most basic, but most malleable garments, the dress.
If you need any indication of just how successful he is, you only need to look at the stars who turn out for his show, both in the front row and parading down the tight corridors of his show space in Bloomsbury. Styled by longtime associate Benjamin Bruno, with music by Michel Gaubert, english romantic-house group Saint Ettiene's motorik rhythms of Like A Motorway provided both the opening and closing notes for his bricolage; the music in between took in, like his fashion, a variety of styles, era and moods.
So that fashion; the stand out looks referenced the Tudor court, big ruffled sleeves that might've felt at home in the paintings of Hans Holbien; virginal white pieces that were collaged together from what appeared to be tablecloths; and long swooshes of dresses that evoked the plain modest beauty of the Southern European countryside.
But instead of being simple references, each era and style was mixed up, a splash of anachronistic colour, a nod to practicality on a piece that was pure beauty, or beauty on a piece that felt more functional, something that felt out-of-place to make it stand out. A splash of pink pattern on a simple dress for example, or a flapping open buckle on a piece of ruffled Tudor bomber (or that Tudor bomber with khaki coloured jeans).
As always the success of Jonathan's work lies in the way he manages to create must-have garments from unexpected elements, the way his cut-and-paste aesthetic makes you relook at the world.
Text Felix Petty
Photography Mitchell Sams