LOVE LFW: A Little Bit of This + A Little Bit of That


If I had left J.W. Anderson's collection on just the 'loaker' note, it would be doing him a great injustice, even if this strange hybrid shoe that's part leather loafer, part 90s air max trainer in an unsettling combination of pale pink, burgandy/black and white, does sort of sum up the juxtaposing elements that saw his S/S 12 womenswear collection soar to new heights.  When I say SOAR, I mean really the dude has just sky rocketed.  The list of press and stockists has grown exponentially to a dizzying level that makes it hard to believe that this is officially only his third 'proper' womenswear collection.  There is no getting away from the mahussive chorus that collectively fawns over J.W. Anderson, which by definition should make me want to join it.  Except with the strangely high quota of just over ten pieces of J.W. Anderson (both old and new) in my wardrobe, there's no denying that I can starkly look at his collections and go "Let's have me some of that…"


Craft Goes Machine says J.W. Anderson for S/S 12 and seemed to me a summation of how many of today's designers are maintaining everything that is good and true about craft, and using that to drive their work forward.  It's not about upholding tradition for the pure sake of it but about exploiting what labourious craftsmanship can offer in the 21st century.  If you look through his YouTube videos, you can find yourself eight acts of image/footage juxtaposition where machinery goes up against something nostalgic or naturalistic.  Or rather rapid movement controlled by a circuit board goes up against something less predictable.  These give you a good image bank foundation to then tackle his S/S 12 collection that once again slickens and tightens up the J.W. Anderson aesthetic from last season.  If J.W. Anderson started off his womenswear with an emotive narrative about a lost girl who was trying to find her way in the world, then along the way, she has toughened up a bit, revelling in her awkwardness and wearing it with pride – which is something that is ensconced into these clothes.  Cue leather bikers and waistcoats stitched with white striped men's shirting, its boring City banker connotations shed once riveted and laced-up.  Most designers would have a tough time taking banker shirts and making them look half-decent but J.W. Anderson has done it with deft skill… 







The machine goes punching ahead to laser-cut square mesh that collages its way into panels on dresses with leather pleated skirts, over the knitted 'cardigan' dresses and onto some wrapover dresses with panels of Swarovski-crystals in a calculated way.  This contrast of naturalistic knit, overly ornate crystal and technical mesh is made palatable by the suggestion of prim high necks trimmed with white, school girl skirts and pinafore fronts, which also carry over from last season's latex collars and navy kilts. 









J.W. Anderson doesn't believe in honing into one thing and repetitively churning it out in photocopy mode.  The collection seems to purposely jerk about a bit so that you didn't really know what new texture you'd be introduced to as each model exited and a new one emerged.  This straw/raffia detailing on collars and sleeves were a welcome earthy element to the electric blue mesh and petroleum blue satin… 




… as was this collaged crochet piece which zig-zagged its way across the body… 


The tribalistic hints are only dropped in subtle quantities like this calico printed top with white fringing… 


Then J.W. Anderson sends out a real statement of intent in the form of this striped pyjama suit with a gigantic logo embroidered at the side.  Again it's another carry-over staple from last season's paisley suit but with the logo says very loud and clear of that "it's so wrong it's right" sentiment that runs through J.W. Anderson's work.  


J.W. Anderson may well have OD'd on paisley last season but when he enlarged and dissected it as seen in the video above and took it to the historic Adamley silk printing factory in Macclesfield (where they have been printing since 1700) to emphasise Anderson's commitment to having things Made in UK (where possible), it becomes a completely different beast to the traditional paisleys of last season.  When paired with backpack straps that run down the front of a shirt, there's no getting away from how brilliantly J.W. Anderson articulates nostalgia and modernity – pulling on a backpack over a school shirt becomes souped up for 2012, for the girl who has grown up but still remembers and reminisces.





In the final flourish of texture exploration, J.W. Anderson takes a chainmail bag and makes up the pattern into nappa leather so that the armour becomes more tactile and light as they swing about on the front of high-neck crop tops and the skirtigans that are another evolution of the skirt tied around the waist device that he cemented last season.  This time round, the knit is finer so the sleeves swing about with a bit more purpose…  







The fantastically tangible part of this collection though is J.W. Anderson's partnership with ALDO which will result in these houndstooth tweed and striped cotton stilettos going into ALDO stores sometime in early 2012.  




The hybrid "loaker shoe", which I got so excited about a few months ago sadly won't be making it into final production stages but hopefully J.W. Anderson will take these odd shoe moments (think of my Oxfords that also come with a mohair beard!) and store them all up for when he properly launches his shoe line 



In other accessories collab, this season J.W. Anderson worked with Porter on these rucksacks that I'm sure will become just as cultishly loved by both men and women as his A/W 10 caravan boots, which apparently had an unfulfillable waiting list of 1,000 people…  That's a sure sign of J.W. Anderson's future might that means my tally of ten J.W. items in my wardrobe will probably grow tenfold over the next few years… 


Sibling Tips



>> Today it's short and sweet I'm afraid as I'm backed up with work but when it's as sweet as this unexpected collaboration between Fashionary and knitwear label Sibling, that does useful things other than look great, then it deserves some peeping attention.  Fashionary is basically a moleskin notepad with fashion design chutzpah and fiendishly useful information that journos, students or anyone who's a budding seamstress or dressmakerwill appreciate.  



Sibling condenses their knitting knowledge into a useful little black book that comes in this special Fashionary x Sibling set that will please any knitwear fiends out there from amateur to professional.   They've also lent their signature leopard print to the cover of the Fashionary as well as a knitted iPad case that also doubles up as a small clutch or huge cosmetics bag depending on how big of a product junkie you are.  I'm definitely using it as a clutch seeing as I'm STILL iPad-less.  Stone me now for not kowtowing to all things Apple.  You can buy it from 39-39's online shop or in their new physical store on Kingsland Road, which I still need to go and check out as they have all sorts of Christmas-appropriate nifty gifty things.   




I may as well take this opportunity to flag up the lovely addition of Sister by Sibling which was unveiled at S/S 12.  Women stealing Sibling's supposedly mens-only knitwear has been a well-established practise so they've made the very easy transition to womenswear by making items such as knitted biker short-shorts and shrinking the sizes down to being more girl-friendly.  The video above co-directed by illustrator Yuko Kondo (who also contributed some tattoo prints to the collection) and Jasi Urb gives you a rough idea of the fairground theme at hand.  The theme 'hot dog' conjures up Brighton and Coney Island which by means on nostalgia alone, men and women should be well and truly slayed by the references to helter skelter rides, candy floss (or cotton candy…) and carousels.  






Sample Sale Collation

>> This is a London-specific post…  I've been wading through a batch of sample sale invitations and thought it best to collate it all into one place on Google Calendar so that it will be useful for everyone.  Here is the link to the Sample Sale calendar so that you can see all the details.  I've added all the ones that I know about but if you have any more to add, let me know here so I can add it in.  If you use iCal, you can add all the dates by clicking here.  It gets more useful when you click over to December to see the chug of sample sale traffic that include Christopher Kane, Erdem and Peter Jensen.  Where there are multiple labels being sold at the sales, I've added Facebook events and website links so you can check out the full details.  In particular, I'll be posting about the Onedayshop and Circus 11 closer to the time but they're definitely larger scale shopping events rather than bogstandard sample sales.   

Just a heads up here, on 17th December, I'll be selling my old clothes and stuff at Circus 11 in a similar fashion to the Yard Sale I had last summer.  Except, it's not gonna be outdoors and there'll be a ton of other designers there as well as mulled wine and all that jazz.  It's going to be a mini landfill of clothing…

BFAing 2011


>> The one outfit which I omitted from yesterday's sticker-fun antics was this Ostwald Helgason dress from the S/S 12 collection which I've shown here without the addition of gelly/shiny stickers because I wore it for the thoroughly serious British Fashion Awards last night, where stickers aren't really welcome.  I'm not a pro at the whole LET'S GET SUPER DRESSED UP for one night only because in effect day could be a glad rag day if I wanted it to be.  I am glad that the prettiness of the satin and printed florals stopped at the feet where the Sixby6Bloggers shoes took over with their uncompromising clumpiness. 

You'll have read the awards rundown by now probably but some initial thoughts include…. GOOOOOO Lauren Laverne for providing light banter whilst hosting the awards….. WOOOOOO Mary Katrantzou for scooping the Emerging Talent Womenswear award…… BOOOOOOO to Jordan Askill or Nasir Mazhar not getting the Emerging Talent Accessories award (I love Tabitha Simmons but I don't consider her to be 'emerging'…?)…… loved Victoria Beckham's blubby moment on stage when she accepted her Designer Brand award, which is exactly how she is at her shows – totally and genuinely vulnerable…. I like the addition of the New Establishment award, which rightly went to Christopher Kane and it's good to recognise those that are on their way to becoming SERIOUS worldly brands…. LOL at Paul Smith's perfunctory acceptance video for his Lifetime Achievement award where he cycled in his office….. Alexa Chung doth protests too much as she accepted her British Style award and said "This is for all girls who dress like boys…" whilst wearing the girliest of confections in the form of a diamante encrusted dress from Christopher Kane's S/S 12 collection.  Gwwwwwaaaan Alexa, it's ok to be girly….. one big roaring cheer of YAAAAAAY for Sarah Burton who of course got the Designer of the Year award which tops off what has been a humongous year for her. 





…. and last but not least, my favourite outfit of the night was worn by Rebecca Lowthorpe, fashion features director of Elle UK who borrowed a fly fishing motif printed pyjama suit from the Giles archive (A/W 09 I believe…).  Sending out internet urges to Giles to do another sample sale soon….