The fashion establishment is lucky to have Jonathan Anderson. In an industry where there is stuff, stuff, and more stuff – much of it the same season after season – it’s refreshing to encounter a young designer who is able to create new ideas so articulately. He has done his best work at Spanish luxury leather goods house Loewe, but that work has also bled over into what he’s making at his eponymous London label, JW Anderson.
It starts with craft (the kind of awe-inspiring details that are more impressive up close than at a distance) and ends with highbrow, art-forward ideas that are actually wearable. For Spring/Summer 2020, the Loewe show incorporated 16th and 17th century design elements like frills and ruffs and pannier skirts, mixed them with boudoir elements, and transformed it all into stuff that doesn’t look like anything anyone else is doing.
Through a labyrinth of layers – ephemeral lace of the Chantilly, guipure, and marguerite variety – Loewe’s collection moves with purpose. It is in this medium that Anderson’s superlative design techniques come to the fore: some dresses were made from gauzy surfaces spliced with wispy gossamer webs, others featured mesmerizing sleeves that dripped past the fingertips and were finished in a deconstructed geometry of appliqués.
We were once more seduced and transported by one of the strongest collections at Fashion Month.
At times, all of that seductive lace was interrupted with fetishistic all-black looks trimmed with tassels, accented with a studded belt, or upholstered in overlapping black straps. We also appreciated the cloud-like fabrics in handkerchief folds that comprised some dresses and the (many) sheer white nightgowns that were shown.
Occasionally, the looks were challenged by costumes that resembled Pierrot clowns, which served as a reminder of where so many of Anderson’s fairytale elements actually derive from. Whether it was the entrancing hum of the zen soundtrack or the way ethereal fabrics wafted down the runway, we were once more seduced and transported by one of the strongest collections at Fashion Month.