Featuring fruity images, several squash, and the strange appearance of a ficus tree
The iconic painter David Hockney was recently quoted saying “there is no art without play” and, aside from being a neat little aphorism – the statement rings very true for JW Anderson FW21. The British label’s Autumn collection was all about embracing fun. A much-need antidote to our times, Anderson reminded us fashion doesn’t always have to be serious, it can also mean jesting around in a sea of clothes…
The presentation’s final form was a graphic poster-series by fashion photographer Juergen Teller. Bursting with creative spontaneity, this showcase took the eccentricity of the collection’s influences and merged them into a kind of photo-theatre, topped off with an appearance from Ratched actress Sophie Okonedo. Think: a cacophony of fruity iconography from Dutch still-lifes, alien antennae and an impromptu appearance of a ficus tree. It was Okonedo’s range of emotions which topped everything off – yo-yoing between mock anger and laughter on set, she added the sugar, spice (and impressions!) that brought the piece together as one.
Yet, it wasn’t all in the presentation – the clothes alike buzzed with adventure. From experimental techniques like the silver painted wool, to some amazingly innovative shapes – the checkerboard-sculptural trousers – this collection danced brilliantly upon that line between gaudy and great. It wasn’t just the expected shearling and trenchcoats typical of the JW Anderson name, but a fresh sense of renewal for the brand – ready to enter 2021 with a powerfully positive mindset.
It came through a great deal of thought about how to respond to this second lockdown season. In the end, the brand embraced a ‘back to origins’ approach, described by Anderson in an accompanying video as “primitive play with materials […] new ideas about gender, and how the we show the collections today.” To give Anderson’s team a round of applause would be doing the least, because that’s exactly the objective they achieved – a cleverly innovative collection filled with purpose, remedy and a bit of plain ol’ fun. Like the joy of a deep dive into an adult dressing-up box, patched together with the spirit of last year’s viral Harry Styles cardigan (which FYI made its reappearance in 2,0), Anderson pulled through with the good vibes – and we’re absolute fans.