London Fashion Week AW14/15 Series: J.W. Anderson

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JWAnderson-AW1415-DazedA ‘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.

Yan To and Young British Designers.

Earlier this year I was the lucky winner of the Young British Designers (YBD) competition to win a dress by Yan To.  YBD is a collective focusing on new and emerging designers in Great Britain, providing a dedicated retail environment for those in the formative years of their label.  The site hosts some phenomenal talent – Yan To,  Olivia Rubin, J.W.Anderson and Eudon Choi amongst others – across the arenas of fashion, accessories and jewellery design.

My dress was to be made-to-measure and I was thrilled to win the competition.  Yan was incredibly approachable and communicative about the fit, style and structure of the dress, questioning me about my likes and dislikes as well as taking all manner of measurements to ensure the final piece would be perfect for me.  We talked a lot about depth and texture – initially I wanted something quite simple (you know me, Blog Reader) but I can now see that with the different elastics; some matt, some with a sheen (there is a close up, below) the dress has a more unique visual effect. Yan sent me images of the creative process as it unfolded in his studio and to be so close to the anatomy of a design was a really lovely thing for someone who adores fashion but who does not have a design background.

The dress forms part of Yan’s forthcoming winter 2012 collection, with many pieces created using elastics, one of his signatures:

I met up with Yan during my trip to London last month to take delivery of the dress and we talked about his inspiration for the new line (a thought process I felt showed a lovely awareness of the psychology of being female) and about his work in general.

Yan explained, “Autumn winter 2012 is inspired by the stripping away of the perception of woman as seen through the eyes of the media, to expose her inner light /dark.  It is realised from the point of love, not cynicism.”  He continued, “For those with a more mischievous disposition it’s kind of like throwing down the gauntlet. ‘If you see me as an object, then check out what’s beneath.  Scared?  Intimidated? Please close the door behind you.  Intrigued? Well…’.”

Yan’s inspiration tends to come from a combination of emotions and thoughts.  He told me that  there are very few drawings in his design process.  ”I prefer to work in 3D either in my head or on the stand.”  His design process? “It’s as much about experimenting with a technique as it is about trying to satisfy an inspiration.”  With a collection of thought provoking, beautiful dresses that are amazing to look at and great to wear I am very excited to see Yan’s future evolution as a designer.

Outfit photos by Lydia Hudgens.
Many thanks to Yan To and Young British Designers for the competition!!  Special thank you to fellow Tweeters Lorien and Jessica from Atelier 36 who I met for the first time in Lahndan town and who came along to see the fabulous new dress.
Wearing: dress by Yan To.  Heels by Dorothy Perkins. Diamond pendant by Anjolee jewellery.