London Fashion Week: JW Anderson’s cool collection for a hot summer

Irish designer’s collection was something of a departure from his usual form

A model walks the runway at the JW Anderson show during London Fashion. Photograph: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for JW Anderson.

A model walks the runway at the JW Anderson show during London Fashion. Photograph: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for JW Anderson.

 

Taxi drivers and even locals never know where Kenton Street in London is, but designer Jonathan Anderson, who shows there each season, is always sure of the direction in which he is going.

It’s 10 years since he founded his label and the 34-year-old Irish designer now masterminds 14 collections a year, six for his own label and eight as creative director for the Spanish brand Loewe.

He describes customers for JW Anderson as younger and more experimental than Loewe, but the showing of his spring collection on Saturday (attended by his family and six month old nephew) was something of a new departure for him as it was more feminine in spirit than usual.

A model walks the runway at the JW Anderson show during London Fashion Week. Photograph: John Phillips/Getty Images for JW Anderson.
A model walks the runway at the JW Anderson show during London Fashion Week. Photograph: John Phillips/Getty Images for JW Anderson.

With its loose, layered shapes, sunny asymmetric stripes, bands of macramé on jackets and breezy bib dresses, it had an overall feeling of airiness and lightness. Typical was a long white loose t-shirt worn over a striped skirt - such long and more fluid shapes tend to suit most women.

Models walk the runway at the JW Anderson show during London Fashion Week. Photograph: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for JW Anderson.
Models walk the runway at the JW Anderson show during London Fashion Week. Photograph: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for JW Anderson.

Vintage

As a gifted stylist, accessories always play a significant role in his collections and this one was no exception drawing from vintage utilitarian and equestrian uniforms in fresh new ways. Cummerbunds with open pockets were a stylish alternative to bumbags, while the white tied back scarves reminiscent of second World War nurses along with elbow length white gloves gave the whole collection a down-to- earth air of workmanlike practicality.

A model walks the runway at the JW Anderson show during London Fashion Week. Photograph: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for JW Anderson.
A model walks the runway at the JW Anderson show during London Fashion Week. Photograph: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for JW Anderson.

Equestrian touches abounded; lace epaulettes on dresses, elbow patches worn as knee patches on trouser suits, black riding boots worn with white spats while longer jackets were based on riding coats from the 1920s and 1930s. In all, a playful and free spirited line up - a cool collection for a hot summer.

Another London-based designer from Northern Ireland, Katie Ann McGuigan, set up her label in February last year and presented her spring collection with live music in the London Film Museum.

This was a mix of feminine dresses and skirts in digital print organza and crepe de chine with handworked details. Leather bomber jackets and hoodies emblazoned with motifs were inspired by the football gear worn by her brother, sports star Ciaran McGuigan, who is now a furniture designer in New York. She will show in Paris in two weeks time.

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