It’s that time again. London’s avant garde golden boy, Mr Jonathan Anderson, seems to grow in hype and potency ever year. This season, that was partly down to a red-hot capsule collaboration with A$AP Rocky, one of Anderson’s most high profile fans – remember that “Jukebox Joints” video where Rocky wore the O logo zip-neck, thus introducing macho hypebeasts everywhere to the weird vision of J Dubz? Then there was the promise of an impossible-to-get-into party honouring the collaboration that evening which helped, in no small part, to stoke the fires of anticipation.
So what went down? A typically Andersonian selection, really. A dressing-up box of childlike delights: abstract crowns sat on heads, dresses cut from a kind of melting tartan sashayed down the runway, quilted bibs came attached to shirts and those boxing-style boots from last season returned in a slightly modified guise. Particularly eccentric was a pink and yellow roll-neck dress with sleeves so long they dragged along the floor – a gleefully weird ensemble that, in the context of the show, felt like observing a small boy trying on his mother’s clothes in the mirror and liking the deliciously queer figure he cuts.
It’s true that there are quite a few famous, critically lauded designers specialising in heightened, conceptual clothing out there. But Anderson is different, in that conceptual (as we often understand the word) isn’t quite the right term. His collections can’t be read in the same way as, say, a Raf Simons show, because they’re more visual stream of consciousness then they are singularly focused, codified bodies of work: a bricolage of the good, the bad, and the ugly; of, indeed, the fabulous and the repulsive. Still, thanks to his unique approach to design, you can almost guarantee that as long as you’ve an open mind, at least a handful of looks or garments from an Anderson collection will be immensely seductive on a personal level. Here, it was those tailcoat-tabbard hybrids and a raincoat with gorgeously redundant zips coiling around it that gave me the pangs of desire. For you, it might be something else altogether. And that’s the joy of Anderson’s challenging understanding of beauty – whatever form it may take.