Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
Breast pockets will be the takeaway from J.W.Anderson’s winter show – an odd placement now, but one that won’t be so odd as soon as the high street catches up to popularise it. We’re talking deep, buttoned cargo pockets with two flaps each, large enough to fit a book, or two, should the wearer be so keen on symmetry. More marsupial than sensual, but fascinating all the same, on a pinstripe strap dress or a purple satiny jumpsuit with a sash at the waist, they are a beacon of functionality on a collection that toys elsewhere with the tokens of expensive taste. There’s fur, shearling and feathers, ostrich, though just as unusually placed as those pouches, like downy brushstrokes on the lower half of a sun dress printed white on red with acanthus leaves. It may not sound like it, but the result is a more mature whole than previous shows of his, vaguely classical even, and still purposefully tweaked to allow for styling coincidences to run their course. The decorative always seems to come impulsively in Jonathan Anderson’s design process, with an almost offhand premise: the brand’s signature piercing bag is updated this time with either ribbons or fringes, and stretchy lurex sparkles. A long line of hook-and-eye fasteners, such as those usually found on bras, draws for no obvious reason up along the sleeves and across the collarbones of a long-sleeved look in a loosely optical pattern. Chain mail’s flakes, echoes of a peacocking past, at once elevate the outfits and struck a familiar chord – but any brush with nostalgia is all but in passing. The clashes in Anderson’s work, his conceptual elusiveness, have always been all about the future – we’ll get to fully grasp them, once again, only in retrospect.