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MAN Womenswear Womenswear A/W09

Newcomer J.W. Anderson joins Christopher Shannon and James Long on the last day of London Fashion Week for a stellar show.

James Long once again explored his ongoing theme of protection and again played with textures with the addition of embroidery courtesy of Scott Ramsey Kyle, blood red PVC and sheepskin referencing films like The Shining and The Silence of the Lambs.

Dazed Digital: Your starting point was the talisman - where did that come from?
James Long: My work is always based on protection. Instead of a literal sense of protection we looked at a spiritual type of protection. A talisman is an amulem object used across all sorts of religion. From that it led to protectors like in The Silence of the Lambs and that led into the kind of skin outfits and Buffalo Bill. The colour palette was really from The Shining and Stanley Kubrick's amazing shots. We lifted the embroidery from the carpet in those films. As always there's loads of inspirations though.

DD: You worked with Scott Ramsey Kyle on the intricate embroidery - how did that come about?
JL: Scott used to be in the studio next door with Louise Gray. Sam, who I work with hooked it up one day. It took ages but it was really good fun.

DD: You've built up this body conscious aesthetic over the past two seasons - do you think it could ever be established as a mainstream look in menswear?
JL: What you can do in a twelve piece show is quite different from what you would do in a full show. I've started to do a bigger show and I do already to a sales collection. When you have such a small opportunity in London as MAN is the only opportunity to show, you really have to give it your best. But I do think all of my designs can be filtered down and I have started to do that.

DD: What are your plans after MAN as you have showed here for three seasons?
JL: I'm really hoping after BFC got involved this season that there will be a New Gen for menswear. If there isn't then that's where the support ends I suppose. I definitely want to do a show on my own or maybe with Christopher (Shannon). We'll see how it goes!
I think once people leave the support of MAN, it's a bit like "Where do you go?" which is obviously where I am now. There does need to be a bigger showcase. Menswear plays second fiddle to womenswear in London and it could be as good if not better. There's a lot of interesting and fun around.

DD: Do you have a talisman of your own?
JL: I've got so many you would not believe!

DD: Are you able to divulge?
JL: Secret in New York!

Christopher Shannon continues to exploit the best of sportswear in a summery palette of pink, orange and grey and showcased his collaboration with Reebok as well as his own take on logomania.

Dazed Digital: Do you think you have pushed the boundaries in sportswear?
Christopher Shannon: I've interpreted it in a different way that suits the aesthetic that I kind of like. It's casual but there's still really sporty elements which is usually in the fabrics. It's not like I'm making really hi-tech pieces. I think I've just approached classic sportswear and given it a new lease of life.

DD: Do you think there are negative connonations with sportswear and do you intend to turn their view around?
CS: No, I'm not interested in changing anyone's view of it. I'm interested in doing what I wanna do. If people have negative connontations of it then that's probably down to their deep-rooted problem!

DD: How did the literal word 'shirt' prints come about?
CS: I've lived in Dalston for quite a long time and I used to see all these (printed) jeans all the time. Then when I was a kid there was lots of Moschino and fake Moschino about. I just think it's so hilarious to see and so to try and make it look slick and fit it in, was a bit of a challenge. I don't do it to be funny. I do it because I like the challenge of the graphic and print. So many prints are done to death and I suppose I thought if I picked something quite foul, then it would be my own. The way Pucci is quite foul and amazing at the same time.

DD: The colour choices - quite summery aren't they?
CS: I can't be bothered trying to think of 'wintery' colours. I've been designing it all winter. Why would I want to be in the studio looking at miserable colours? People don't dress like that anyway!  

DD: So would you say your clothes are aseasonal?
CS: I want people to want specific pieces so they want that piece rather than buying the whole look or buying into the brand. I want them to make it last and age.

DD: What are your plans for next season?
CS: I've got the collaboration with Reebok coming up. I'm doing more stuff with Topman, the tees are out next month and then there's the LENS thing. Have loads of stuff coming up and it's busy this season. Couldn't be happier really!

J.W. Anderson looked to exert masculinity by combining heavily masculine and feminine features in clothing together with an old-world feeling of romanticism in his debut collection.

Dazed Digital: What were your intentions with the way you blurred the line between masculine and feminine in your collection?
J.W. Anderson: I just wanted to do MEN. It was to get masculinity across but I think with masculinity you need to have femininity for it to work. It was trying to show men in general as a group, not picking out individual types of people. It had to be a mixture of things so that people can relate to it on any level; sexual, non sexual, whatever. I wanted it to be real but at the same time imaginative.

DD: Was the casting quite specific
JWA: It was a variety of men. We wanted to streetcast and mix it up a little bit. From blonde to blue, you know - any man can look at it and relate to it.

DD: There was a decadence in the collection that you don't normally see in menswear - do you think that was something you were trying to get across?
JWA: I didn't want it to look decadent. I mean the fabrics are really good but that's for me a development as a designer, being able to use fabrics like we used some premium-weave companies to get it (the collection) done. But it's not the idea of decadency like it's the recession and we had to do that. It's just that's what I felt. It's more to do with the fact that I wanted texture in the collection, not richness, but to give it a 'feeling.'

DD: You've always had a connection with the past, old worlds etc - What else would you like to explore?
JWA: I think I want to get more fun! I want to get it more playful - exploring men, all different kinds of men, exploring the boundaries of it and trying to jump the bar each time.

DD: Do you think there's a JW Anderson wearer?
JWA: I really do. It's someone who wants to experiment and at the same time it's someone who wants to be real in a weird way and explore it.