J.W. Anderson References the Mad King, Henry VIII, for Spring 2017

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As a designer who lives to challenge the status quo, Jonathan Anderson’s collections are assuredly singular – in that you’ve never seen anything like them before.

In the topsy turvy world of J.W. Anderson, tradition is constantly subverted in favor of invention and innovation, and as the king of the double-take, Anderson stays on theme with a wacky presentation for Spring/Summer 2017. His point of reference was the mad king, Henry VIII, and Anderson’s distorted lens filtered classic Tudor style through the padded walls of the asylum. For instance, bed jackets made from buckles, looped ribbons, ruffles, and quilting reminded one of a straight jacket, while other split-and-deconstructed interpretations looked like schizophrenia realized in sartorial form. A masculine, bulky silhouette recalled Henry the VIII’s famous paunch, as padded looks provided a sort of protective armour against the elements.

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

To add to the feeling of madness, Anderson tends to work with a very narrow catwalk with guests crowded in close quarters. The feeling that the walls were closing in was supported by strange interpretations of peasant frocks – which were actually jumpsuits with bubble hems that gripped the ankle.

While his work is not commercially minded, his accessories output is, and beyond the Tudor-themed clothing and elaborately draped dresses of this collection, it is his earrings and footwear that stood out to onlookers the most.

In succession, we saw padded denim with quilted geometric accents, gloomy sackcloth dresses with cheerful paint-splashed bottom halves, and a bizarre look that featured a painterly blouse on one side and deconstructed, exposed-seam shirting on the other side. Also in the mix were leather jackets embossed with ropy raised veins, dip-dyed dresses with asymmetrical seams and handkerchief hemlines, and fantastically sporty monochrome slip dress. Anderson also reimagined the Elizabethan ruff as thick tubes of fabric that encircled the wrists and hips of several sweaters like donuts. As a designer who lives to challenge the status quo, Anderson’s collections are assuredly singular – in that you’ve never seen anything like them before. While his work is not commercially minded, his accessories output is, and beyond the Tudor-themed clothing and elaborately draped dresses of this collection, it is his earrings and footwear that stood out to onlookers the most.

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