“Is there a prize for the stupidest outfit at Men’s Fashion Week in London?” a headline in the Daily Mail asked in January 2013.
Leading the list of contenders was one by designer Jonathan Anderson.
“At J.W. Anderson the humiliation of the models was made truly complete, as the designer sent out his clan of put-upon male beauties wearing frilly shorts,” the British tabloid opined.
Fast-forward 10 years and those shorts are back, in leather this time and padlocked onto the waist, no less.
At a press conference before his fall show in Milan on Sunday night, Anderson marveled that the conversation around gender that seminal garment sparked rages on. He noted it’s the one that fashion museums around the world clamor to have in their collections.
Guess what? Those ruffled bottoms, now worn only with wrestling boots, barely caused a ripple at his fall 2023 show, which also included a minidress version as part of his women’s pre-fall collection.
Anderson has been paring down his outfits lately, and here he reached the pinnacle of bluntness. There were a few eye-catching items, like shearling blousons with ruffled fronts, leather jeans with an outsize SIM card replacing the jacron label, and tubular toggle coats with S&M airs.
But overall, this collection was light on new ideas, and rather light on clothes, a good number of models striding out dressed only in fluffy, infantile briefs — some clutching a long roll of woolen fabric, or hugging a pillow.
“It’s about intimacy, it is about domestic, it’s about a restart,” was the chief soundbite the designer lobbed at press conference.
He seemed most excited about his collaboration with Wellipets, the British maker of rubber boots with frog eyes, famously worn by Prince William and Harry when they were children.
He also shared some news, confirming that his JW Anderson label will continue to show menswear in Milan and womenswear in London, with the next show scheduled for Feb. 19.
He also revealed that his namesake house is in expansion mode, readying a Milan boutique to open this spring on the Via Sant’Andrea. Those frog-eyed shoes hit stores in April, in adult sizes only.