J.W. Anderson took us on a journey of epic (and tiny) proportions with a memorable and wide-ranging collection for SS16.
LFW: J.W. Anderson SS16
Method in Madness
J.W. Anderson doesn’t typically compromise. Not when it comes to pushing androgyny (men in unapologetically feminine skirts for AW13), nor when it comes to making his esoteric influences explicit – see SS15’s decidedly Surrealist leather hats that melted over the head in vast, Daliesque drips. It should come as no surprise, then, that when Anderson compares his SS16 collection to an “odyssey”, he isn’t overstating matters: an odyssey of styles, an odyssey of volume and of pattern, this collection featured shoulders the Eighties could have only dreamed of, frilled collars, and even track pants elevated to the pitch of tailoring.
Yep, those hyper-puffy, inflated shoulders were a classic example of Anderson’s catwalk vision. You probably wouldn’t wear them, but they certainly make a memorable statement on the runway – though what that statement is exactly, it’s hard to tell. Perhaps it’s one of sheer confidence (definitely a must to pull off some of these Keith Haring-style printed pieces) or perhaps it’s a wry, ironically exaggerated comment on the imminent and much-touted Eighties-revival. Either way, these shoulders were only one half of a two-sided conversation going on about size and volume, the obverse of which were minuscule bras worn both on their own as well as above tops: underwear and outerwear.
Other prominent talking points included linked-cuffs – found not just at the end of sleeves but also, beautifully-redundantly, on the bottom of trousers legs – as well as outfits styled with two bags crossing over the torso, making a harness that is somehow both practical and impractical all at once. Indeed, there was so much going on here that things would have felt diffuse in the hands of a less skilled designer. Anderson, though, kept things tethered through the sheer bombastic force of his vision: long may it live.
Photographer: Thurstan Redding
Words: Benji Walters