Sunday, January 8, 2017

BEAUTY: Clothing--J.W. Anderson

A J.W. Anderson collection is usually a very cerebral expression of a variety of oblique inspirations. With past collections taking inspiration from Antoine de Saint‐Exupéry’s classic fable LE PETIT PRINCE, and Christopher Robin Milne who was the real-life model (and son of the author) for the character of Christopher Robin in the A.A. Milne WINNIE THE POOH series, it is no surprise that something small, homespun, and perhaps familiar from childhood would serve as a springboard for this Fall-Winter '17-'18 collection: Grandma's blanket of crocheted squares. And here is where the oblique part comes in...these small squares or patches made a leap to heraldic patches and flags and then to stained glass. Indeed, they do remind me of stained glass, their bright, saturated colors vibrating against the black form containing them. The overall silhouette hearkened back to the tabards and tunics of Medieval dress. Sarah Mower at astutely noted: "An instinctive reflex in these apocalyptic times is to picture our days as a descent into the Dark Ages." Stained glass images were appliquéd to tops and jeans. But back to those little crocheted squares...they showed up not only on long, trailing scarves, skirts, backpacks, and on the garments themselves, but as floppy shoe covers. Which of course makes me realize that such historical pieces were made of leather, metal, or even chain mail, for battle. So what does it say that Anderson presents the same pieces made of something so gentle, so familiar, with echoes to home and childhood. Maybe something like, lay down your armor, embrace something softer and more human...fight the new Dark Ages with conscious compassion.

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