JW Anderson: Soundcloud chic
These days JW Anderson seems almost like a cult, so great is the air of anticipation before each show, and again in Milan on Sunday, when he showed a highly directional collection inspired by furniture and furnishings.
His concept: pretending to repurpose materials “So, if you shoot them, they will blend into the background,” said Anderson.
Taking the notion to cunning extremes, Anderson sent out some great tops and dresses, for guys and girls, diagonally dissected by two padded strips, like the arms of a Poltrona Frau 60s sofa.
He showed huge chunky sweaters that looked like balls of yarn, or tank tops that appeared culled from very shaggy carpets, or maybe even mops. While a series of skirts and dresses for men and women, in this co-ed show, could have been made from felt under carpets, but weren’t.
“Redeveloped knits – so it is not actually a carpet, and the balls of yarn are not balls of yarn but knitted into a structure,” added JW, addressing a score of journalists backstage.
Structurally his biggest trick was a new pair of shorts, where one side stood three inches away from the hip, like a garage door. Though the stand-out looks were two couch leather hi-tech spy coats, that wrapped across the torso, finished with buttons and Jesuit sleeves.
“Taking the mundane object from your parents’ house to a Hicks sofa from the 70s to cardboard boxes turned upside down,” Anderson kept on experimenting.
All the way to bizarre interlocking rough knit tops and new beveled clogs that were inspired by Georgian chair legs. Though his best-sellers will be some light-weight cotton shirts and mini jackets, where collars fell off to one side.
“The idea was a place where there was no hierarchy in clothing. You cut a sleeve or your hoodie because it is a personal choice,” he noted.
The Northern Irish designer added that creating the collection reminded him of his early days in fashion, when he started, by doing windows with the late, great stylist Manuela Pavesi.
“It’s the first time I have looked at the idea of British and Italian style meeting. This dialogue between Portobello Road or Camden Market and Milanese style. A synergy between high and low,” Anderson expounded inside the raw south Milan show space. Hundreds of fans milled around outside. Scores were allowed inside to stand.
After showing his menswear in London, then Paris and now Milan, Anderson said he plans to keep bringing the men’s collection to the Italian capital.
“I love showing in Milan as it is so calm. It’s not like in Paris where the traffic can be terrible,” he shrugged.
Staged on a fresh cast few of whom had been seen this season, and supported by a soundtrack that was literally taken from a raw selection heard on Soundcloud and followed in that exact same order.
“I have this vision of kids sitting around in a circle listening to music. As if they all just plugged a machine and listened. So, whatever is served up to you is not a calculated decision. This collection is like that – a cerebral exercise. I didn’t feel any angst. It’s my fantasy of what I really want to wear. I look at it and I say I’d love to be that guy, or that girl,” explained the designer, dressed for the occasion in the current jersey of the Irish national rugby team, a side his father Willie Anderson captained four decades ago.
Which led to him being asked why he rarely wore his own clothes, to which he responded: “I’ve always had this strange phobia about wearing my own stuff. It’s like cooking a meal and then having to eat it. It is never that good.”
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