JW Anderson announced his collection with a quote by David Hicks, the British-born interiors designer who died in 1998. “The excitement of today is in the freedom of the individual to make his own choices, and the range of possibilities for which he may choose.”
For Anderson, who picked up awards for both men’s and women’s wear design at the British Fashion Awards last December, the quote had inspired a collection of “modern cocktail wear all imagined within a domestic and interiors setting”.
The lines were architectural and the fabrics multi-textured, faux suede ruffles rippled over bag handles and skirt edges were tiered in scalloped petals. Anderson had played with faux and real hides to create his folded sculptural mini skirts and quilted leather capelets. Simple gowns were fastened with giant studded belts. There were decorative zip features everywhere, used as a trim or to fasten flapping squares of fabric to shirt tops, they ran around trouser legs and span around skirts.
For a show built on the sixties preoccupation with cocktail dressing and mid-century design, the collection was still very future thinking. This cocktail hour had no sense of retro nostalgia: there was a sci-Fi flavour about his cream layered tunics with studded details and striated cream blouses chained together with silver links: even if the black fronds printed on sculptural bonded tunics recalled the Victorian ostrich feather, they looked modern and pleasingly outlandish. “It was an exercise in fashion,” explained the designer backstage. “I think that’s important right now.”
It’s especially important in an era of fashion design that is increasingly focussed on commodity and not on creative freedoms. This was a show rooted in the creative confidence that grows ever stronger in the 30-year-old designer. That said, Anderson is building some great house codes within his eight-year brand — the ruffle details and tapestry florals echoed many of the ideas he developed in his precollection, while the ruched trousers, oversized feature cuffs and high necklines, have become a sartorial signature. For resort 2016, Anderson explored the interior of Jim Ede’s Kettle House home in Cambridge, wherein the collection was presented. As with then, this collection also melded the line between personal and domestic space. It’s a very stylish place to be.