JW Anderson blanched a little when I mentioned his AW collection had recalled that stalwart of Essex power dressing Dorien Green from the long-running 1990s comedy-drama Birds of a Feather. Those look-at-me statement knits; those red-hot scarlet bootees wrinkled around the knee and gathered in a bright silver buckle detail at the ankle; the emerald jumbo-cord trousers-cum-leggings that sat inside them; the brassy vinyl tops; the geometric jangly earrings.
“Really?,” said the 30-year-old Northern Irish designer, aghast, when I pointed out the boots were made for her. “Well, I suppose I liked the idea of three elements coming together in a controlled accessory.”
I meant the comparison in the best way: the collection was a terrific mash-up of 1980s influences; intarsia knits with kitschy animal motifs, tulip-hemmed skirts with bold buckles, and lurex tops with blousy balloon sleeves, high necks and asymmetric fastenings.
In fact, Anderson had taken his inspiration from 1980s party girls newly freed from Soviet-era communism as the starting point for this collection.
“I liked the idea of girls finding their freedom and putting together a look,” he explained backstage about the show’s Soviet themes, and the almost naive clashing of textures, shapes and colours. “I wanted them to be individuals: the kind of girl who puts on a jumper, and then finds something from a previous collection. They might wear it with a great old coat. I wanted each of them to have a character.”
His soundtrack, Human League, played in a loop, further emphasised the spirit of the collection. It was exuberant, exclamatory and eccentric, but (like the outfits) actually very carefully put together.
As one might expect of the designer who double-duties for the luxury house Loewe, there was an emphasis on leather: it featured in oversized, shiny collarless coats that fastened with a single button and dropped to the ankle, a beautiful butter-soft dusty suede pink jacket and paper-thin skirts — so thin they looked like bin-liners at times. The acid-bright palette was tamed throughout with sludgy coloured jackets in East Berliner beige.
For evening, skirts were hung with giant bugle-beaded fringes that clattered round the knees. And there was lots of coloured lurex — “to give it an orbital theme”, explained Anderson.
It was bold, and rather brilliant. “The collection delves into the roaring innocence of party girls and the exhilarating speed of consumption,” read the show notes. Sounds like Dorien personified (well, maybe not so innocent).
Chigwellslavakia: I loved it.
For more reports from the London shows, go to our fashion weeks page on the FT web app, or visit our AW2015 fashion weeks hub on FT.com
Get alerts on Fashion shows when a new story is published