Yesterday Jonathan Anderson presented his men’s SS21 and women’s RS21 fashion show in a box, which editors around the world received this week, for his eponymous label JW Anderson.
The box includes images from the collection, from posters to perforated A4 sheets which can used as postcards. As well as other ephemera such as material samples from the collection, masks designed by artist Pol Anglada, flowers and affirmation cards that Anderson describes as something you might find in an old library book. Every element found in the box is meaningful and reinforces the importance of touch and experiencing something in real life instead of through a screen.
The mask that comes in the box, as well as the masks photographed for the womenswear collection, appear to be a playful reference to the masks we’ve all become so familiar with due to coronavirus. The postcard images of the collection, seem to be a symbolic way of acknowledging and bridging the gap between the new modes of communication we have discovered, as well as the old ways we might have returned to during this pandemic.
One of the affirmation cards says ‘never compromise’ which feels like a paradox as the idea of a show in a box looks to be a compromise for the September fashion show JW Anderson would normally have. Yet, the fashion show is a presentation of spectacle that tells a story and JW Anderson seems to have successfully condensed this experience without compromising on quality or his brand identity.
The menswear and womenswear resort 2021 collection “created with available resources in rather extreme conditions” exhibit pragmatic, tailored pieces among voluminous, playful pieces on mannequins. The distinction between both collections are blurred with slightly altered iterations of pieces such as the patchwork jockey coat. There are pieces which can’t be placed in a particular time or decade such as the military capes featuring a hood. As well as jumpers with floor length sleeves or pom poms that decorate the hems. Both collections communicate optimism and the creativity that comes from being restricted.
Next week will mark the first ever haute couture week that will take place online, which will be followed by Paris and Milan’s first digital fashion weeks. As a result, it will be interesting to see the innovative methods designers have thought up to showcase their collections in comparison to Jonathan Anderson’s act of defiance.