Sunday, January 10, 2016

BEAUTY: Clothing--J.W. Anderson

Last season, J.W. Anderson presented a marvelous collection (here) that was obliquely based on--or rather inspired by the notion of--Christopher Robin from WINNIE THE POOH and the real-life boy he was was based on, A.A. Milne's son, Christopher Milne. And here at London Collections: Men we see another oblique offering for Fall-Winter '16-'17 that Anderson claims is based upon the notion of speed and how our modern culture moves so fast. As a way to highlight this fact, he partnered with social app Grindr (a kind of speed dating site for gay men to find quick sex) to livestream the show! Fast indeed. But there is irony in the collection in the form of a snail motif that shows up again and again. There is also a puzzling and cuddly creature that could be a lamb or a rabbit, which I suppose makes sense as a contrast to the snail. Perhaps it is a question that we must ask ourselves: are you the rabbit or the snail...and which one do you want to be? Do you want to rush through it or enjoy the ride?

The silhouettes are still pure Anderson which is a form of proprietary minimalist--often futuristic--luxury. It seems like that could be an oxymoron, but look for yourself. Some of his past collections look like they could be costumes in a utopian or dystopian sci-fi film. Yet somehow he manages to make basic forms swing with sangfroid or splay with languor. To enhance his inspiration of speed, many of the pieces look to be riffs on running or athletic apparel. But however popular "streetwear" is at this moment in fashion (a move I mourn), he can't bring himself to completely embrace such a pedestrian concept (pun intended), so we have unique elements like rabbit fur dyed blue on white or red on black peppered here and there, and acrylic studded collars. His intellectual concepts combined with his unique approach to garments makes him, to me, an artist in his medium. Now, if he would only use synthetic fur...

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