j.w.anderson’s genre-hopping spring/summer 17
From the English Renaissance to the colors 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 — evidenced 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, 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 young designer's 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, the show's music was designed 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.
Anderson's stand out looks referenced the Tudor court; the season's big, ruffled sleeves 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 evoked the plain, modest beauty of the Southern European countryside.
But instead of simple references, each era and style was mixed up — a splash of anachronistic color, a nod to practicality on a piece that was pure beauty, or beauty on a piece that felt more functional. Things that felt out-of-place made pieces stand out: a splash of pink pattern on a simple dress for example, a flapping open buckle on a ruffled Tudor bomber (or that Tudor bomber with khaki colored 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