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Keith Haring-style squiggles, leg-o-mutton sleeves, lingerie lace cycling shorts and svelte rib-knits: JW Anderson SS16 was an “odyssey oscillating between intergalactic Olympics and empowered femininity”, according to its 31-year-old designer.
A study in volume, Anderson’s monochromatic collection included leather pantaloon trousers elasticated just above the ankle — like very elevated tracksuit pants — and blouson tops sheared close to the torso and made voluminous at the shoulder. The squiggles were scribbled over everything: trousers, tops, jackets and bags that were slung in pairs, cross-body, like a harness (not a great look on the larger bosomed lady).
The beauty of this show was in the details: tied ankle trims, and a black tuxedo suit with exaggerated cuffs and a cufflink-fastened turn up. Decorated with white overstitching, it was razor sharp but deeply feminine. And there were several sensual hides, as one might expect of the designer who double jobs as creative director at the leather house Loewe.
For tone, Anderson had called on Martin Scorsese’s documentary about Fran Lebowitz, Public Speaking, as a point of reference. The androgynous lady of letters best articulated his desire for “honest” design and her ability to offer the “best commentary on a moment”.
There were many moments here: the silver squiggle shirting was sixties futuristic; the blousy shoulders Renaissance; the pale apricot ruffles were flirty and thirties; the ribby-knits quite seventies; and the plastinated leather ruching very now. Together it had a uniform freshness and quirky adds of wit. In a hectic London schedule, Anderson’s collections imprint on the eye. A rare achievement. As Anderson observed, somewhat gravely, backstage: “it’s all about the moment, because there’s another show tomorrow”.