J. W. Anderson F/W 2016
J. W. Anderson F/W 2016

Jonathan Anderson is one of those designers one doesn’t want to miss. Even when he has an off season, which is rare, he still manages to come up with som iconic element that everyone else copies in the years to come. His creativity reaches outside the normal boundaries to create new silhouettes and elements that have yet to be named. This show is always a full house and this afternoon’s presentation was set in a maze-like room where white walls separated the hundreds of guests and created narrow aisles barely wide enough for models to walk. Placed at each seat was this quote from David Hicks:

The excitement of today is the freedom of the individual to make his own choice and the vast range of possibilities from which he may choose.

To that end, this fall/winter collection caters very much to the individual and provides almost endless possibilities. Most of the ensembles are separates that, I suppose, one could mix and match to suit one’s taste. At the same time, each look is unique so even if one copies the styling of the runway one isn’t likely to be caught wearing the same look as anyone else, unless maybe one is attending Anderson’s own holiday party.

We expect new and fresh looks from Anderson, so it was a bit surprising when the first few looks almost seemed mainstream: a blue blouse with a black skirt, a quilted shirt with a rose in the center. But then one realizes there’s a zippered flag on that blouse, and the quilted shirt is made of leather and is quite startling when it makes a return appearance in black rather than white. Look up again and one sees a full-length trench coat with a huge metallic belt so large it covers both the waist and the hips.

There is an obvious floral motif to many of the silhouettes this season, though he doesn’t go out of his way to make anything look all that much like a flower. Still, it’s difficult to miss the skirts that are made of large, puffy petals overlying each other or the bell-shaped dresses with their ruffles and peplum. Anderson’s use of asymmetry is extreme so that what perhaps should seem obvious often isn’t simply because of the angle from which it is being observed.

Anderson also shows off new features such as the stiff capelets attached like over-sized collars to some shirts, their backs tilting upward as though they might be intended to catch rain. Studded metallic shirts with wide, scooping neck panels and transparent sleeves have almost a space-age aesthetic to them. Tremendously large and broad cowl necks look incredibly dominating and turtlenecks that zip over the mouth are almost disturbing.

Creativity forces itself upon every inch of this collection and even with elements that might not seem to make sense one finds a strange, magnetic attraction to these wonderfully original looks. There is a very good reason J.W. Anderson is Northern Ireland’s favorite designer. With beauty and originality like this, Jonathan Anderson makes every Irish person proud.

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