Pin It

Jonathan Anderson has skinned Pepe the Frog

The final frontier in amphibian footwear, the designer has teased a bizzaro collaboration with Wellipets for AW23

Having researched this piece for all of ten minutes, I stumbled upon an extraordinary fact: when a frog swallows food, it wrenches its eyes into the roof of its mouth to help push dogs, cats, newborn babies – I don’t know, I didn’t research what frogs eat and I don’t want to – down its throat. That image has been knifed into both my brain and Jonathan Anderson’s (presumably) who just teased his upcoming collaboration with Wellipets for AW23, which is a kind of PVC mule moulded into the shape of a cartoon frog.

Its face frozen into a state of mindless bliss, eyes bulging with a guileless, childlike smile, the designer has reimagined the humble hyalinobatrachium dianae with such poignancy that it evokes a pre-radicalised Pepe, Kermit, and Shrek – a pioneer within sustainable fashion known for skinning swamp toads and using their wet husks as balloons, and therefore probably slippers and stuff, too. Of course, Anderson’s collections are nothing if not an attempt to out-random the last, with the deigner twisting clothing into its most outrageous, unsually covetable forms at Loewe and JW Anderson (see: the outsized anthurium flowers, iPad coats, and Daisy Duck mules).  

Much has been made of the Anderson’s lean into bizzaro fashion since he emerged from the pandemic, but pieces like these are perhaps more silly than surreal. In creating something which is at once gruesome and adorable – simultaneously repelling and pulling-in shoppers – the designer has become fashion’s foremost meme merchant, an expert in creating clothes that straddle URL virality and IRL allure. The Wellipets collab is also reminiscent of that brief-lived moment when street-stylers wore fish flops to Pitti Uomo. So perhaps this is just the final frontier in the mainstreaming of amphibian footwear, that which has normalised Crocs and Vibrams to such a degree that they now seem to have lost the power to shock.

All this is to say: frog eyes on the FROW will surely be bulging from their sockets when Anderson takes to Milan Fashion Week on January 15.