After taking over London Fashion Week with his Spring/Summer 2023 show that bridged casino arcades with surrealistic fish dresses, paying tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II. and plenty of playful moments, Jonathan Anderson’s eponymous label — JW Anderson — returns to Milan again.
After completely deleting his Instagram account, the Northern Irish fashion designer and creative director of LOEWE began to reshape his brand’s online identity. First came the clipboard graphic, followed shortly by a close-up of a man holding a jar of Vaseline, a selfie of Anderson holding a Howard Hodgkin artwork, and a pair of Wellipets frog clogs. These were all signs of what was to come from the unbridled creativity Anderson projects season after season.
For the Fall/Winter 2023 menswear show and Pre-Fall 2023 womenswear show, JW Anderson looked back at his past, childhood and what he alluded to as simple. While many of the looks were conceptual—for example, the T-shirt had a pillow attached to the front and was worn by a model with painted tomatoes—little was truly surreal.
In fact, Anderson said the only surreal moment was his collaboration with Wellipets — debuting mules and the frog-like take on his viral Pigeon Clutch Bag. These shoes were contrasted with a new style of boots that appeared in multiple colors, drawing inspiration from bags. The outfit, on the other hand, was only slightly dressed up with Anderson’s usual irreverence.
A nod to his FW13 collection came with leather reconstructions of frilled shorts, this time with belts that sported JWA-branded curls. He influenced dresses and coats like a straight jacket, but the main coat of the show was the designer’s simpler piece — a shiny brown leather coat with a deep V-shaped opening on the lapel.
Vintage male erotica was applied like trompe-l’œil to fine, soft t-shirts, with graphic male heads cut off to leave room for the wearer’s own face. Big Bird yellow appeared on a fluffy hooded coat, while other men’s products — like a black double-breasted coat — were wide at the shoulders and narrow at the feet, elongating the entire body. On the contrary, the women’s jackets were gathered, almost as if they were bursting at the seams, although they were not at all tight.
A combination of shearling and leather for briefs and a tank top, while another top is made entirely of white leather. This was a theme we saw at labels like Matthieu Blazy’s Bottega Veneta, only at JW Anderson the look looked more structured, especially paired with sculptural formal trousers.
The invitation to the show — an oversized sim card — morphed into jacrons on the back of the pants, a nipple cover, and frequent cleavages, implying that the wearer subscribed to Anderson’s visionary brand. And with that in mind, many were hooked on his rather relaxed (for Anderson) show.
From the black T-shirt dresses made from fine jersey that permeated much of the collection to the opening looks of the butt-chewing models holding rolls of fabric, JW Anderson FW23 was a lesson in stripping away all the unnecessary – much like Prada earlier today.
Backstage, Anderson celebrated with friends Charli XCX, Luca Guadagnino and White lotus‘ Sabrina Impacciatore before an intimate visit to the press. Here’s what he had to say:
“It’s a very raw state of mind. That’s what I wanted for this collection. A sweater is a pullover, pants are pants, a jacket is a jacket. There is no over-explanation in appearance. It works with tensions; that idea of a bag becoming a shoe, a shoe becoming a bag. The idea that you are committed to something. There is the idea of three colors working together – blue, yellow and brown – there is something about color therapy somehow.
I liked the idea of looking at subversion. Especially in London, especially in the 70s and 80s, and watching the great masters like [Vivienne] Westwood… I don’t think we should be afraid of subversion. I think it’s no longer about shame, but about ownership. Working in fashion, we are very afraid. I think there should be a constructive dialogue — I love menswear and I can’t do what I do without working with a menswear wardrobe because I feel like it helps me contradict myself.
[On the topic of Wellipets], I googled and suddenly they appeared again. I’ve been pestering them on the phone for weeks to see if we can [work together]. Something about them reminds me of my childhood, they were something to have. They were “coaches” as a child. It is the only surrealist moment in the collection that is, ultimately, like a tape recorder. It’s a design icon, it’s in a design museum and in every institution, and I think it symbolizes something. They were worn in better days with our royal family.
I mean fun. As we’re discounting – because I think we’re going into discount season – and stripping down, I also think that if we still don’t have a sense of humor, I think it’s difficult. It’s about connecting with something. That’s what JW Anderson is; our accessories are a cultural reference.”
You can see the JW Anderson FW23/PF23 in the gallery above. You can find more about Milan Fashion Week FW23 on Hypebeast.
In other news, Etro has officially arrived with its powerful ’70s statement.