Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
Contrary to popular belief, a slowly dawning awareness of the “exhilarating speed of consumption” at play in our society does not elude fashion designers as much as it had once – though one would be forgiven to assume the opposite, pictured as they still are as the devil tempting you mid-season. Granted, their solutions need be a bit more oblique than our own, and many have sensibly opted to focus on the quality of their craftsmanship and are now proud to promise products blessed with everlasting longevity. But what’s the point of an indestructible coat if its print and pattern are a few seasons old and leave it to languish at the back of your wardrobe? Many, designers and non, hold on to their right not to pose themselves that question, although a certain reproach for the ambiguous ways this system works is not unheard of in the graduate collections of those young and daring, or the radical work of the Fashion East pupils for example, on show in fitting locations like the Institute of Contemporary Arts here in London. But when someone like Mr. J.W. Anderson tackles the issue, it’s bound to have even the most stubborn of the rest lift their hands from the sand, if nothing else to get an eyeful of Lurex – a seasonal favourite for sure, though seldom so far celebrated as bravely. The literacy many have noted in this drastically 80s-themed collection made each piece look vaguely familiar and ever so slightly off at the same time: the sort of late 80s worn still at the cusp of the 90s. Freely styled as thrift shop mannequins, the looks set to mirror women’s own craft of use, the unruffled gathering of findings and the magical thrill thereof. Forgoing the intellectualism he’s best known by, some ensembles were lowbrow enough to make us wince – then wonder, appalled, at just how elitist we’ve become.