JW Anderson: the king of weird fashion sets the stage for a gnarled era


All this to say that he makes clothes that follow these sayings. The collection he showed for JW Anderson on Wednesday was, as he put it, “very JW”. Designers seem to think about simple pleasures a lot, but all too often that means clothes that feel safe. Anderson’s simple pleasures still have the odd zeal that is fashionable: you look at her and you just want to wear her or, better, be the person who does.

Photograph by Juergen Teller. Courtesy of JW Anderson.

“In a strange way,” he continued, “I can’t think of anything more modern than a pair of running socks and shorts.” If that sounds like Juergen Teller-y, it is: these are the third season photographs of the famous photographer wearing socks and shorts for JW. “I love working with Juergen,” Anderson said. “It feels liberating. It is not about being revolutionary in clothing. It’s really about trying to build a character who sells a fashion dream. In other words, he was thinking about the types of clothes he would like to see in a Juergen Teller photograph – or the types of photographs you would see in the golden days of fashion magazines of the 1990s. He’s right: photos, with their slightly gnarled, topless and shirtless men, photographed in a somewhat dingy London house, have a load that transcends the lookbook attitude that has become so staged in recent months. The knotty character: this is shaping up to be a defining trend this season. Many of Anderson’s models had the mopey grunt familiar to admirers of Palace Skateboards lookbooks (which Teller also often filmed for).

Anderson delivered the images in small matte black cardboard frames, with a socket pocket on the back – a nod, he said, to the kitschy back-to-school photograph. (Obviously, this experience was less traumatic for Anderson than it was for most of us in the United States.)

Photograph by Juergen Teller. Courtesy of JW Anderson.
Strawberries, on fleece! Photograph by Juergen Teller. Courtesy of JW Anderson.

This is the last chapter of his show-in-a-insert intriguing support here, although a little lower. He doesn’t know if he’ll start doing shows for his eponymous brand again. Probably for Loewe in the fall. “For me, there’s no point in rushing back to something when Europe may be open, but it’s a mess,” he said. “All of this is that we are still in a transitional period.” But he “strangely enjoyed” all of the experimentation, he said, and “when the time is right, the time will feel right. You know what I mean? ”Either way, his creative output over the past year probably tells the fullest and most compelling story of the pandemic through clothing.

We’re now a year away from the first pandemic fashion shows, so inevitably it’s a time to take stock of what’s changed, got better, faded, whatever. One obvious result of the last fourteen months is that the industry has become much more fragmented and extensive – almost every brand presents itself at its own pace, in its own way. But for Anderson, it’s ideal. “I find this whole process really liberating,” he says. “Because we kind of do what you think is right for you, but no, it doesn’t have to be right for the industry. Weird, weird.


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