Irish designer Jonathan Anderson appointed to V&A board
JW Anderson creative director caught Prada’s attention in Brown Thomas job
V&A trustee: the Irish fashion designer Jonathan Anderson. Photograph: Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty
The creative director of JW Anderson and the Spanish heritage brand Loewe is one of four trustees named yesterday by Theresa May, whose role as British prime minister includes selecting the governors of the London museum.
“I am inspired by art and artists every day and am honoured and humbled to join the board of such an impressive and important British institution,” said the designer, who was born in Magherafelt, in Co Derry, in 1984 and is the son of Willie Anderson, the Ulster and Ireland rugby player, and Heather Buckley, an English teacher. He also posted a photograph of his new V&A identity card on Instagram.
The Victoria and Albert is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance, with collections spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. It was established in 1852 to make works of art available to all; today its purpose is to champion creative industry and inspire the next generation. The curator of its current blockbuster exhibition on Christian Dior is another Irish person, Oriole Cullen, from Killiney, in Co Dublin. It trustees, who serve four-year terms, attend six board meetings a year.
As a young man Anderson caught the eye of Manuela Pavesi, Prada’s fashion co-ordinator and a former Vogue Italia editor, with his arrangements of designer menswear at the Brown Thomas department store in Dublin, where he was working at the time. She became a mentor, and he ended up working at Prada while studying at London College of Fashion.
Anderson launched his first menswear collection in 2008 and expanded into womenswear two years later. In 2013 he was appointed creative director of Loewe and in 2015 became the first person to be named both menswear and womenswear designer of the year by the British Fashion Council.
A supporter of art and craft more widely, he in 2016 founded the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, whose winners have included the Irish basketmaker Joe Hogan and the ceramicist Sara Flynn.
Anderson’s fellow new V&A trustees are David Bomford, a former Slade professor of fine art at the University of Oxford and senior restorer of paintings at the British National Gallery; Genevieve Davies, a governor of the Royal Ballet School and British Youth Opera; and Marc St John, a former partner and head of investor relations at CVC Capital Partners.