JW Anderson: from Essence to Uniqlo
today Sep 16, 2017
If there is a single biggest reason fashion insiders come to London then it must be to see the latest show by JW Anderson, whose star designer Jonathan Anderson is having a very busy week – even by his standards.
Saturday morning he presented his spring 2018 women’s wear collection to just 250 aficionados; Monday afternoon he will make a personal appearance in Uniqlo’s Oxford Street flagship for the launch of his collaboration with the Japanese retail behemoth. This will see his clothes retail in some 2,000 boutiques worldwide.
First up in Yeomanry House, a mini military installation in central London. Before an audience of steely-eyed editors, including Anna Wintour, Anderson sent out a purified statement of his oeuvre. The Ulsterman has made the curvaceous flounce dress his signature, but today he reduced the proportions, silhouette and detailing – and the result was both highly commercial and very cool.
Witty as ever, he used Northern Irish linen maker, John England, in some wonderful pants and shorts, trimming them with his own name. “We wanted something humanly grounded, that you could see in the kitchen!” the designer chuckled.
Anderson is also London’s boldest fabric innovator – as he showed with a series of great leather looks. Either boiled from the top down; or covered with canvas before having that fabric ripped off to create a raw surface. He cut rather divine long dresses trimmed with bulbous leather cuffs; whipped up sporty bras, ironically in worn linen; and earned an intense murmur of appreciation for an ice cream hued multi-striped summer frock in contrasting sequins and dry leather.
All anchored by one very smart espadrille bootie – made in Italy - in various blends of linen, suede or leather.
“For the last couple of seasons it was about a feather here and a chain there. This was about reducing, reducing and reducing,” said Anderson.
Anderson’s name is set to explode into mass fashion this week, with his link-up with Uniqlo.
“I am obsessed by Uniqlo. I wear their clothing on a daily basis. So, to me, this is a no brainer. Their quality is incredible,” said Anderson.
Added Simon Whitehouse, the house’s beaming CEO: “We are going into 2,000 stores, which is pretty huge. Honestly, we are approached everyday for collaborations, but one has to be careful. But, how can one turn down Uniqlo? Right?”
Uniqlo will unleash a remarkable 1.7 million Anderson garments – in 50 SKUs - onto the market on Tuesday, both on the web and in its global chain. Everything from a £20 shirt to a great new backpack will allow a global audience their chance to buy into the Anderson aesthetic.
Whitehouse’s other smart partnership – a linkup with Converse, which was unveiled this summer in Pitti, and will hit stores in December.
“We finally have real budget for ads. We can just take 45 pages a season with a tiny budget. But with Uniqlo we can take that to another level!” enthused the CEO.
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