Once again, Jonathan Anderson packed his London Fashion Week audience onto narrow benches set in narrow corridors — the walls painted palm green and the lights overhead coaxing sweat.
Models in long, torso-skimming dresses whisked through the venue, their handkerchief hems lapping at the knees of editors, and guests that included Tory Burch, Alexa Chung, Olivia Palermo and Anderson’s family. Sunset colors — erupting in striking dégradé or blotches across meaty, natural linens — heightened the summery vibe.
“I wanted something a bit more grounded, a bit more fluid. A bit solar. Something calm,” the designer said backstage. “And I just wanted something that was a bit girly again.”
This was a confident, chic and alluring collection for Anderson, who has become a beacon of fashion experimentation, and a highlight of London Fashion Week. There was still quirk and daring — Hulking tunics with giant looped Henry VIII sleeves anyone? — but with less of the borderline awkwardness and haphazardness that defined his early collections.
The fluted skirt shapes — the most exaggerated slashed into spiraling streamers; the most demure a collage of crisp, white linen place mats — swished seductively. An elongated bubble skirt was the other main shape, rendered in rustic-looking knits.
Tudor references recurred in padded doublets extended into dresses with frothy, off-kilter skirts.
What left the biggest impression was all the languid, free-falling fabric, on simple scoop-necked or V-necked dresses — and Anderson’s flare for juxtaposing rustic textures with synthetic color or bits of hardware.
“Not awkwardness,” he noted, coining a more trenchant descriptor of that J.W. vibe: “Organic friction.”