A ‘modern 20s romance’ summed up the AW14 collection from J.W. Anderson. Long skirts, tall funnel necks, boxy, square-cut tops, trapeze coats and tunics-over-trousers in lush fabrications – everything was elongated and sculptural in this line inspired by artist Dame Barbara Hepworth. The question of ‘romance’ in such a collection is probably best answered by blogger Susie Bubble. In an article for Dazed Digital she wrote about Anderson’s exploration into the ‘avant-bland’ and the sensuality that can be found in androgyny:
“Anderson plays with gender archetypes as though he’s setting himself a dare. Never mind gender bending, he’s increasingly speeding up on an ongoing gender swerve, playing with levels of masculinity and femininity in both his menswear and womenswear as though they were adjustable dials on a turntable. What’s interesting though is how appealing Anderson’s apparently ‘sexless’ clothes are to women. Very feminine women at that, judging from the number of J.W. Anderson pieces seen on editors on the streets of New York and now London.
Anderson is by no means the first to reject the lines, silhouettes, colours and motifs which ‘flatter’ women and play up to their femininity. However, he is resolutely steadfast in his approach towards ensuring women have the choice to wear jutting out shapes oddly placed around the neck, skirts that are layered and proportioned unexpectedly and shirts that have windswept bows splaying at the waist. The cleverness of Anderson’s designs, which has aided his ascent, is that what is supposedly sexless becomes the very opposite. Sexy, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Susie Bubble for Dazed Magazine.
Back to the show, Anderson presented a severe love-story:
“It was about twisting and rooting a woman from the ground up. I wanted it to feel a bit disturbed. I like the idea of shriveled arm – something that might appear to be like roots. I think that’s why I was looking at corduroy and the ways in which I could elevate it so it didn’t feel poor. We cut it on the bias, we bonded it, we fused it and we tried to make it a little bit more suspended.
The initial starting point was actually a picture by Graham Sutherland. I thought, what would it be like if this contorted figure was actually something. I spoke to someone about the twenties and thought about how the twenties hadn’t really been tackled. Then I thought about corduroy and how I hated it. How I could get all those things together to be a woman.” – J.W.Anderson, Dazed Magazine.
Photos: Dazed Digital.