Jonathan Anderson just solved the conundrum that faces fashion today: how do you give women a thrilling change in silhouette and a new way to wear things—while also doing ‘normal’ clothes? His answer was a simple stroke of genius: super-super high-waisted pants—reaching halfway up the ribcage—inserted into the universally-recognised convention of classic shirts, trousers and blazers.
“Day looks. I’m loving day wear at the moment,” he said, explaining the brief he’d set himself. “How do you twist something so it’s ‘Oh, yes—I recognise the Oxford shirt and white pair of jeans, but then it’s off in a weird way? There’s a subversiveness to it. But it’s very civilised.”
Surrealism was a preoccupation Anderson worked into in his post-pandemic Loewe collections, and his eponymous JW Anderson brand in London. Bringing zing to generics—rugby shirts, knits, T-shirts—is the other side of his talent, plus his unerring knack for bags and accessories. Both of these came together—focused and reiterated—in 14 different ways of wearing his extreme high waists: as “micro-shirts,” as he called them, with a narrow English game-keeper check jacket, wildly conceptual glittery flower-breast-pieces, chunky cropped sweaters, and part of a tailored suit.
There was a killer bag in the equation: a totally desirable bourgeois classic shoulder bag, with a foot-long gold chain nonchalantly swinging from it. Anderson knows who he’s addressing and dressing so well. It has an international sweep: every woman who might loosely identify as American preppy, British posh, French BCBG—and then all of the rest of us who just crave something out of fashion that’s easy, chic and not boring.
“I’ve been here for 10 years, so it takes a super long time, but I feel like I’m at a point where I understand the attitude of the brand: the clothing, the woman, the man, the bag,” said Anderson. “You see that there’s something happening: that the look is becoming definitive.”
He mentioned in passing how much the Spanish roots of Loewe inspire him. When you think about that, was there was the subtlest hint of the matador silhouette behind those high-waist trousers? Anderson first showed them on men at Loewe in June. “There’s a small corset inside” to keep them up, he added—which happens to be an inner detail of a bullfighter’s costume, too.
Anderson is renowned for embracing randomness, throwing spanners in the works of logic, making free with experiments, illusions and oblique channelings of the confused mental states we’re living in today. There was a funny ‘accidental’ moment when coats got caught up in bags. Other pieces came out skewered with huge metal pins. The sophisticated craft capabilities of Loewe were demonstrated both in the luxurious minimalism of raw-edged leather T-shirts and shorts, and in elaborately delicate dresses constructed from strands of some impossibly fine fringing technique.
But when all’s said and done, what came out of this collection was clarity; a leading designer daring to put forward a new silhouette—and we haven’t seen that for a long time.
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This article was originally published on Vogue.com.