London is where the innovators live, and one of the most impactful of them all is J.W. Anderson. While other designers were busy paying tribute to the 1970s or reworking 1930s shapes for the modern wardrobe, Anderson decided to come completely out of left field for his Fall/Winter 2015 collection. With an in-depth exploration of 1980s maximalism, he presented a wild and wacky ensemble of technical fabrics worked into logic-defying shapes. The 80s signaled the first time that women across the world were readily accepted into the workplace, and fashion bore a new silhouette to meet the epoch with masculine, bulky shapes that were nicknamed “power suits”. Using this (rather frumpy) silhouette as a starting point, Anderson showed us just how brilliantly he can manipulate material.
In order to leave no trace of doubt as to his references, Anderson opened the show with a look that absolutely nailed the Era of Excess. The first look featured a high-collared dress with scrunchy outseams, kimono sleeves, a desaturated graphic print, and a glossy, metallic sheen finish. Although it was certainly “out there” it was by no means unfamiliar. Anderson hand-makes most of the fabrics in his presentations, so the strange and glossy material popped up again toward the middle, folded into a bizarre, billowing blouse. Out came multi-colored fuzzy sweaters, which reworked the Koos Van Den Akker aesthetic, and oversized, shapeless leather coats in baby pink and tobacco that were a nod to the House of Montana. While forest-green corduroy skinnies, tassel overlays, striped Lurex knitwear, matching sloganized separates, Asian tunics, and origami-folded leather skirts were solid notions, Anderson tripped over himself with grotesquely constructed “workwear” pieces that were as far from flattering as they could be. This is the one consistent drawback to Anderson’s work, which is often brilliant and inspired; he struggles to find a harmonious way to incorporate his heady ideas with a silhouette that actually looks good on the female body. Often his work struggles against the form, and it takes a very niche consumer to pull off his complicated looks.
Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree