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J.W.Anderson AW15, 80s, Soviet, Geometric, Knee High Boots
Karo Michalowska (Next) backstage at J.W.Anderson AW15Photography Lea Colombo

J.W.Anderson AW15

Don't you want me, baby: the designer revives styles from Russia in the late 80s, when post-communist consumerism reigned supreme

TextSusie LauPhotographyLea Colombo

Initial reaction:

Jonathan Anderson imagined that a group of Eastern Bloc girls had gone wild on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall – a time when freedom allowed society to bask in the new wave exuberance that the late 80s and early 90s had to offer. Consumerism beckoned them as if the clothes were saying “Don’t you want me, baby?” (The Human League’s “Seconds” was the soundtrack), as they strode down the geometric 80s-style carpet. 

Eastern Bloc:

“I like this idea of Soviet girls in Berlin in the late 80s/90s,” said Anderson after the show. “They all had their own stamp on something. They’d be experimenting with this idea of fashion. And it’s this idea that when you put clothes on, you become a character.” It wasn’t merely the 80s Anderson was mining, but a specific period where countries that ‘lagged’ behind the Western world fashion-wise were catching up, and beginning to discover the transformative nature of style and consumerism. It wasn’t so much a pastiche but a bricolage of this period in time.  

Girls just wanna have fun:

The designer simply said that the show was about “Party girls having fun.” Anderson revived and updated all the 80s tropes that those who are old enough to remember would probably like to forget – as pussy bow blouses, leather pencil skirts with big buckled belts, glitzy lamé, metal fringing and chunky heeled knee-high boots with silver orbs attached to the sides, were thrifted from the past and made to look new again. Incidentally, Anderson’s Gen-Z fanbase will be looking at this collection with fresh eyes. As a designer, he has always pushed our buttons when it comes to taste levels and just as the 70s look to have swung around again for AW15, Anderson bucks the notion with this collection. “We have a stigma towards the 80s,” said Anderson after the show. “But it was playing with the idea that there was this genius fashion that came out of it – it’s like we’re eating the decades.”

The soundtrack to J.W.Anderson AW15: