Hybridized styles, bubble skirts, a slightly tribal feel – all of these elements indicated a certain recapitulation of previous season’s designs at J.W. Anderson’s Fall/Winter 2017 presentation, but this time they were headed in a decidedly more commercial direction. It was surprising that Anderson decided to craft unapologetically feminine looks, especially in light of many prior efforts that saw the designer putting women in silhouettes that complicated and obstructed the female form.
Critics (including this one) have long labeled him “challenging”, but there was nothing challenging about Anderson’s work this time around. Instead, he blazed through several different aesthetics – from the futuristic and feminine to the nomadic – and most of the looks revolved around dresses and outerwear. There were dresses comprised of camisole tops and silk bubble skirts, cardigan/dress hybrids, feather-printed frocks interrupted with swaths of metallic material or finished with a shock of real feathers at the bottom. There were softly draped looks reminiscent of saris, and others that were outfitted with utilitarian “saddle-bag” style pockets curiously affixed to the neckline.
Outerwear was as straightforward as it comes: shearling lined suede jackets, fur coats, and severely shrunken leather bolos. For once, it was unfussy and uncomplicated – even the shoes were easy-to-wear neutral sneakers. Juggling a popular eponymous menswear line, a creative directorship at Loewe, and his own womenswear label has Anderson frequently racing toward the finish line. This season, he didn’t slow down to fuss with funny silhouettes, and his collection might be better for it.