J.W. Anderson Women Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2014 London

JW Anderson takes the show to a space between the public and the private spheres this season. In Anderson's "celebration of a certain boredom" his ideas seemed to have stemmed from the banality of everyday objects like the Asadi plastic slippers, wiped clean tablecloths and takeaway boxes. The Anderson girl we have come to know and love remains familiar; sensitive, fragmented and according to Anderson, "always slightly broken".

The show opened with a see-through baby doll dress with generous ruching, and light materiality akin to a night gown. It quickly shifts into Anderson's familiar territory of classic structures spliced and reworked to ingenuous perfection. The series of deconstructed looks that opened the show had a wabi-sabi stoic air to it, complete with pebble tones of whites, greys and a hint of mossy green. Slate-like fabric sheets, that ever so slightly grace over the chest of the models, added to that fragility and incidental titillation.

It was also said to have a sense of the oddly ancient, and if one were to dig deeper - as is often necessary in demystifying Anderson's collections - it brings to mind an image of Iphigenia, the Ophelia-like damsel from Aeschylus' Ancient Greek mythology. Ironically enough, the interior-exterior discourse is also a recurring theme in the myth.

This season's nod to Japanese design seems too concerted to be incidental. Embossed and debossed geometric shapes on leather and nylon are reminiscent of wooden carvings in Japanese architecture in the styles of Shigeru Ban and Kengo Kuma.  These rhythmic textures make great shells to house the fragile models for the public domain.

Through the pitting of two polar ideas - which seems to be of trend lately - JW Anderson managed to spur an interesting dialogue between hard and soft, tactile and cold.

It seems that Anderson's claim that presents his girls as "sliced and diced and served up again" heightens their image as beautiful scapegoats of the ever changing whims of post-modern zeitgeist. It is this manipulation of the contemporary and the avant-garde that leaves the collection only decipherable through the very codes of its eccentricities. As the press release rightly disclaims "motifs of the collection are to be found through feeling". It is the irrationality that resonates with our times and makes JW Anderson the alluring mind game that is hard to resist.

- Nabil Aliffi
 

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