LONDON — Jonathan Anderson is looking to the Eighties works of Gilbert & George, and specifically their early street shots of East End boys, for a men’s and women’s capsule that will launch Dec. 3 at Matchesfashion.com.
JW Anderson x Gilbert & George is part of the designer’s spring/summer 2019 collection and is meant to celebrate the artists, their take on masculinity and British modern life. Anderson has focused on three of his favorite works by the artistic duo: “Guard Plants” (1980), “Dog Boy” (1980) and “Heavy” (1988).
Gilbert & George’s candid shots of “normal” kids on the streets of London’s East End helped to make them famous, and by the end of the decade, works such as Heavy had become more stylized and reflective of the duo’s love of William Blake’s poetry.
“Guard Plants” shows the face of a boy in military-style uniform framed by leaves and vines in intense primary colors, while “Dog Boy” is a black-and-white shot of a teenage kid flanked by rows of flowers in full bloom. “Heavy” shows three dreamy young men floating in the sky with hair that looks as if it’s on fire.
Anderson said he wanted the collection to capture the mood of the “everyday life of ordinary boys” with pieces that include leather biker jackets and Latex T-shirts, Breton striped tops and shorts, voluminous cotton tunics, sweatshirts, and prints of the artwork. Oversize bags also showcase the artists’ colorful imagery.
“For me, Gilbert & George are the ultimate British modernists, and I am obsessed with their work. I really appreciate both the sense of anarchy and order in what Gilbert & George do, and in this way it works perfectly with JW Anderson — it’s a marriage of British eccentricities and traditions,” said the designer.
The collection will launch exclusively at Matchesfashion.com and in store at 5 Carlos Place in London, where a Gilbert & George-inspired installation will be open to the public for two weeks. From Dec. 10, the collection will be available on JWAnderson.com.
The designer is marking the launch with the publication of “The Pleasure Book for Boys with JW Anderson and Gilbert & George.” The book features photographs by Alasdair McLellan, an interview with the two artists by Jo-Ann Furniss, styling by Benjamin Bruno, and design by M/M (Paris).
Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore offered unprecedented access to their home and studio to shoot the collection and some of their favorite objects, according to JW Anderson. They also appear in a number of images. The book will be sold on JWAnderson.com starting Dec. 19.
JW Anderson is moving forward on other fronts, too: The company has named Ben Wymer marketing and communications director, a new role. Wymer will report to the newly appointed chief executive officer Jenny Galimberti. He spent the past four years as senior global events manager for Louis Vuitton in Paris, and has served as director of events at Tommy Hilfiger in New York. Wymer starts work on Dec. 3.
As reported, JW Anderson’s former communications director Divna Susa left JW Anderson in September to become head of communication at Martin Margiela.