J.W. Anderson F/W 2015

Rock star clothes with a twist

We’re not terribly sure what on earth is pataphysics – the alleged inspiration for this show – but the net result was a gutsy triumph by Jonathan Anderson that jumbled up Scouse inflected chic, subtle tailoring and off beat glamour.

Ankle-split pants and stage coat
Ankle-split pants and stage coat

Hair slicked back, faces solemn; the models marched around in what the designer termed an “Orwellian mood.” Though this was a 1984 where the Thought Police had lost power and the streets were crowded by arty young dandies.

Strong color-blocking on knitwear
Strong color-blocking on knitwear

 

The Anderson gent sports tortured artists silk sea blue tunics or clinging knits cut Confederate style. Above all, the cutting was bravura – huge Grand Guignol collars used on cape coats and rockabilly jackets; and flared pants slashed open at the ankles with pockets placed on thighs and not waist high. Not one print in sight.

Statement coats on gradations of camel
Statement coats on gradations of camel

All the detailing had punch from necklines finished with knitted collars and mini sculptural circles to tight hounds’ tooth jerkins held together with plastic leaf buttons the size of one’s hand. Anderson was inspired by the work of Wiener Werkstatt potter Lucie Rie. Another example of how far the designer reaches when he researches a collection, as this is the work of an artist very few people know.

Lucie Rie inspired large buttons
Lucie Rie inspired large buttons

Staged on a great catwalk made of chunks of Clongowes Wood College purple gravel-shaped shards of rubber, the show was backed up by a memorable soundtrack in savvy work by DJ ace Michel Gaubert. “Macho Dickheads,” intoned the soundtrack – itself the intro music for concerts of that most cussed of Liverpudlians, Morrissey – as the models strode out in the Officers Training Corps center. A bizarre backstage – with the cast meandering before a military warehouse full of army boots and camouflage uniforms.

Yes, the red leather pant is one of Anderson’s staples now
Yes, the red leather pant is one of Anderson’s staples now

Yet this counter blast to dim machismo ended with poetic poseurs in eight-foot long cable scarfs, covering 80s rock icon clobber. Poetic sophistication from London’s most important voice in contemporary menswear.