It was minimal to the point of stark, seriously conceptual and visually strong. But then, where J-dub is concerned it is always strong.
Jonathan Anderson has created a label with a vision in no time at all, a vision that chimes with the times, borrows from the aesthetics of the greats – Miuccia, Rei, Yohji – but manages to look uniquely his own. His signatures – or what were his signatures, for he has moved on this season – those big pleat-waist midi-skirts, the block coloured knits, the boxy patent leather jackets and chunky soled shoes were left behind in favour of something altogether more stripped back and soulful.
He said the collection, with the serious title of ‘Semiology of the Self’, had evolved from the menswear and his pre-fall womenswear: ‘We tried to drag stuff out of it, to find something new, new codes. We stripped and reduced everything down, elongated and accentuated shapes,’ he explained as Carinne Roitfeld sauntered in to plant a kiss. There aren’t many London shows that are bestowed with her presence but JW was one. Amanda Harlech was also front row with her daughter Tallulah, not too far from J-dub addict, Alexa Chung.
This ‘reducing everything down’ would explain the jersey tops that fell from the shoulder into long flapping points, the silhouettes that often swept the floor and the general austereness. It looked as if he might have been thinking about the idea of protection with a wide neoprene bandage of orange that pinned one arm of a white dress to the body, or the slim white straps that criss-crossed the tummy on a pair of loose, black nylon trousers, and even the way tops and dresses closed at the back with thick ties that appeared to have been inspired by hospital gowns. ‘There’s always a bit of medical stuff going on,’ he laughed, pointing out this season’s shoe – a flat white orthopaedic slip-on.
This being JW, there was plenty in this stringently controlled collection that epitomised modern cool right now: the sleeveless fur tunics with those aforementioned nylon trousers or the monster cartoon print that suddenly appeared on two high-neck sleeved tops and a point-hemmed skirt. One sweeping bold red outfit served as a memorable punctuation mark.
There’s a real glow around Jonathan Anderson at the moment, following his TopShop collections – comprising all your favourite trademark pieces, in store now – that proved how commercially minded this young brand-builder is. Perhaps it was his work for the high street that had made him want to serve up something even more conceptual than usual here? Whatever the reason, it worked. And of the younger generation, his is the name to watch.