The standout collection of a muted Menswear day was undoubtedly JW Anderson’s SS 11 show, which for the first time showed both his menswear and equally desirable womenswear together. His psychedelic film for the collection, titled ‘The Devoured and I’, shown on Saturday gave clues but nothing could prepare us for the visual feast (complete with impressive laser show at the end) on display. Anderson loves a good narrative and this time was no different – “It’s about a girl and a boy falling in love and running away from a privileged upbringing to take a road-trip across America,” he trilled backstage. Though it wasn’t something he had experienced for himself (he is planning a roadtrip later in the year), what came out felt new yet undeniably Anderson’s work.
The beautiful transience of youth appears to be an obsession of his and this was expressed in the fragile and broken down elements of the collection– trousers were patchworked, lace doilies were sewn onto t-shirts, Liberty prints were bleached out and tulle and florals were borrowed from the girls. His boots which became the cult accessory of last season this time came festooned with a spray of Swarovski crystals at the toecaps – “to make it look like they are melting into the floor.” The potential hippy dippy vibe was undercut by beautifully controlled styling by Robbie Spencer and a powerful sense of transmitted feeling through honest things. And as Arthur Russell crooned over the soundtrack – that’s a wild combination.
Dazed Digital: What were the inspirations for the season?
J.W. Anderson: It started with the work of William Gedney – I love his nighttime photography and the honesty of his work. Then we started with this idea of a boy and girl falling in love and running away together on a roadtrip through America, experimenting with LSD along the way.
DD: You mentioned heartbreak inspired the last collection – where was your headspace this time around?
J.W. Anderson: I would say obsession. Obsession with mixing combinations. It was the idea of salvage and saving things.
DD: You’re showing womenswear for the first time
J.W. Anderson: This was definitely the hardest collection I’ve ever done. Because we were showing both womenswear and menswear and having to juggle production. But we got there in the end. To me it was important to show them both because it’s this idea of a girl borrowing clothes from her boyfriend.
DD: The collection felt intensely personal – what was the emotion running through the collection?
J.W. Anderson: I think it was honesty. It was me being honest and putting everything I loved into what I did.