The limitations of lockdown fueled Jonathan Anderson’s creative fire, with the designer finding fresh ways to transmit his ideas for spring: In an interview at his new London studio, the designer said he took time to tune into his customers’ desires, and found that designing clothing on a mannequin — rather than a real person — wasn’t so bad after all.
Through it all, he remained committed to the idea of staging shows — for men’s spring 2021 and the women’s resort collections — even if he couldn’t have a runway, front row or set adorned with art, sculpture or conceptual designs.
His solution was to blend the physical with the digital, sending out “show boxes” — a takeaway delivery, of sorts — to press. In a bid to serve buyers, he’s been working with HoloMe to create hologram images of models wearing the collections in a bid to re-create the live showroom experience for buyers.
He filled the boxes with images of both collections printed on different paper stock, and layered in pressed, dried flowers; fabric swatches; cute cutouts of accessories, and inspirational cards with embossed messages such as “Keep looking up,” “Never compromise” and “Stay curious.”
The men’s collection was shown on mannequins topped with surreal, blown-up drawings of faces by illustrator Pol Anglada. The show box also contained an illustrated paper mask and string, also by Anglada, in case viewers want to stage their own show. Anderson said he wanted the box and its contents to serve as a record of this unusual moment in time.
The collection is upbeat and fun, with a utilitarian bent and the wacky proportions for which Anderson is known.
The designer worked tapestry and wallpaper-inspired patterns into frock coats with buckles at the collar, while long lace coats with giant patch pockets came layered over poufy trousers. An olive patchwork cape-cum-jacket is perfect for the London weather right now — sunny and breezy one minute, pouring rain the next.
Knitwear was uplifting: Anderson took inspiration from his grandmother’s needlepoint for a red, green and yellow crewneck with sailboats floating across the front, and dotted pompoms the size of satsumas around the edges of other knits. Djellabas were printed with more of Anglada’s designs, while dizzyingly striped T-shirts fell way past the knee, their sleeves stretching to the floor.