When you consider that Jonathan Anderson, just seven years into the job, is now producing 10 collections a year with his own-name label, together with his creative directorship of the LVMH-owned Loewe brand, you have to hand it to the designer when he pulls out a collection such as the one he showed yesterday.
J-Dubs, as the industry knows him, said that he had been looking at the early years of the 1980s, but through the lens of Berlin and Soviet Russia, where it wasn’t the done thing to flash one’s fashion credentials, ‘where rebellious girls experimented anyway with anything they could find’. Hence his troop of look-at-me party girls, dressed to impress, paying homage to an era that fashion would rather forget. Except that, draped in sheeny Lurex and glossed nasty coloured leathers, they looked kind of ‘ace’, as they might have said.
In a fantastic array of pieces that really shouldn’t work together but did, thanks to the designer lobbing in his modernist sculptural take on it all, they trouped out in multicoloured mohair sweaters, say, with green jumbo-cord almost-leggings shoved into grey knee-high ruched leather boots with a giant silver daisy on the foot. In short, the kind of thing you’d reject in a second-hand store, but with the J.W.Anderson label inserted into them these pieces were suddenly bestowed with a kind of must-have credibility. His ardent followers will no doubt purchase the look head-to-toe, unperturbed by the über retro-ness of it all. They, of course, weren’t alive to see it all the first time around.
This was also J-Dubs asserting his way of working, which is to produce something beautiful and easily accessible one season (see last spring’s wide-brimmed hats and elegant sailor pants) and follow it up with something far more challenging the next – in this case, ‘the stigma we attach to that era’. As he once told me: ‘Each collection is a reaction against something; if a collection works very well, then it has to become more ugly – you have to kind of oppose it each time. You have to keep people wanting.’
His youth-cool fanbase will definitely want this. As for the more seasoned fashion sisterhood, we’ll take the bags – spheres of navy leather or lopsided box bags and possibly those crazy boots – while immediately downloading The Human League’s 1981 classic, Dare.
Images above all Imaxtree.com