While wearing his other hat as creative director of Loewe, Jonathan Anderson has been inserting gleaming metal plates into trenchcoats and chrome drain catchers into sweaters.
He visited the hardware store for his JW Anderson brand, too, incorporating cupboard hinges into hoodies, tacking safety gloves to the front of striped sweaters and riddling T-shirts with tin-can ring pulls halfway open.
It made for an entertaining and at times bonkers display of youthful clothes from one of fashion’s most interesting thinkers. Anderson interpreted teenage obsessions like cycling and skating in literal fashion, weaving a set of nifty BMX handlebars into a sailor-striped top, and a broken skateboard into the front of a mohair sweater. Some kids might type SMH (shaking my head); others SLG (silly little grin).
“Taking norms of everyday clothing and kind of mechanically putting them back together,” Anderson, his head tilted toward the floor, mused in a post-show scrum, ideas tumbling from his brain like Pringles from the tube.
The press notes detail a shopping list of shapes that are obvious “to the point of banality: the T-shirt, the sweatshirt, the Bermudas, the dress, the jeans jacket, the five-pocket trousers, the bomber, the tailored double-breasted blazer, the tank top, the parka.”
By intervening on these garments, Anderson wakes up the eye, and occasionally raises an eyebrow. On the very wearable end of the spectrum were crinkled leather Bermudas with the off-hand cool of board shorts; sweaters splattered with bar codes; jeans with double waistbands or big cuffs mimicking waistbands, and hole-ridden jeans and jeans jackets married to chinos.
Anderson riffed on similar looks for his women’s resort collection, which paraded alongside the menswear, also deconstructing jeans to become a low-riding skirt affixed to a slinky slipdress. Both sexes wore sneaker versions of his popular Bumper shoes, or a platform pool slide variation with crystal-studded stoles.
If JW Anderson was a cartoon channel, it would probably be Nickelodeon, and there was a SpongeBob outfit — look number 13 — to prove it. But the designer also decorated a big yellow sweater with a pencil sketch of Rembrandt’s face, which he lauded as “probably one of the most important self portraits in the last 500 years.”
The artist emits an almost clownish expression in the etching, and the original is even smaller than an Instagram post. Anderson likened it to a selfie. “As much as we want to reinvent ourselves, sometimes these things already exist,” he said.