The designer for the new collection analyzes and reworks his archive, placing it side by side with the figure of Michael Clark, the incipit of JW Anderson’s Fall-Winter 23. The legendary Scottish dancer and choreographer allowed Jonathan to rummage through his past as well, studying how to combine the two paths to create a collection with a vivid and provocative character. The multiple references require deep understanding, learnable only by watching the show intensely and trying to understand the origin of each element. Clark is the agitator who challenged the system, he is the reference point that pushed others to do the same, he is a new beginning: his figure and characteristics mixed with the fifteen years of the brand are condensed for the next season, all remade and revised. Bagpipes create a background to announce the start of the show, opened by a white tank top with the name of the dance company printed on the front.
“Looking back is not something I do very often, but occasionally it feels necessary as a way to move forward. The past can be a lens that brings the future into focus.”
The rubbing leather T-shirts closed at the back and printed with the invitation to the show are the first touch of Anderson looking back to the past: on the front the shape of a penis that also evokes the maxi images used to set up the circular runway paired with neon green pants that give light to the entire look. Two T-shirts follow with graphics that reclaim manifestos’ design takes directly from the Clark’s archive. Shoulderless fur tops with a hand warmer on the front are a reinterpretation of one of the designer’s most iconic looks seen at Man FW13, while Bumper accessories inspire wool sweaters with bulbous collars, hems and cuffs. Jackets and coats feature architectural shapes, collars and shoulders are transformed into sculptures, and pants are made geometric with the addition of triangular figures poking out from the side. Striped tops, synonymous with Anderson, are immerse of Micheal Clark Company logos, while the recreation of ballerina looks are a true homage to her career and history. Solid-colored tops with messages including “DENTIST?”, “WITCH?”, “Y MALE” and “SHAMMAN” are part of the niche references, paired with leather mini skirts with bows on the side. The designer as footwear proposes slip-ons taken from his archive, pumps with heels in original shapes, and ankle boots with a round toe. The maxi bags with Clark’s logo take up the neon green color, while the crumpled leather clutches are a faithful reproduction of the set-up graphics.
“At its core, this is a collection about fandom. Fandom is a funny thing: completely personal, frequently irrational, often embarrassing. As I looked back through my own archive for this show, Michael let me rifle through his. It helped me pinpoint my own obsessions.”
Anderson places the show at the Roadhouse, a space that hosted concerts and raves for decades starting in the 70s, celebrating the membership in British culture. The garments borrowed from the past carry messages that exploded gender debates a decade ago and completely personal, often irrational elements helped the designer identify his obsessions and turn them into details that have made him one of the most important of our time. Analyzing himself from a few years ago, understanding the work and reworking it-the designer comments at the end of the show that it was fun to look back before moving forward.