Late at night, in the Tanks space of the Tate Modern, the entire fashion industry showed up to see what young Master Anderson had for us this season. This was just the row in front of me: Lucinda Chambers, Carine Roitfeld, Olivier Zahm, Suzy Menkes and Natalie Massenet. They all squeezed into the child’s hand-sized space that was left, perfectly happily so. That’s dedication to the cause of fashion – to see and embrace the new, no matter what direction it hits you from. What J.W. Anderson showed was certainly that, new and he’s been searching for it, not once relying on the buzz around his name. In a way, he’s almost testing it – how far can he go before the cool girls that fell head over heels for his previous collections start getting cold feet? A bathroom robe of a coat/dress hybrid is not as easy as a sweet pinafore, after all.
Kudos to Anderson for putting on the show he did. It will take some time for his experiments with shapes and fabrics to sink in and start making sense. The black wool dress of the opening look looked monastic in its starkness, save for a slit at the front, and the way he gathered and pinned the black leather into boxy tops with elasticated high necks felt purposefully awkward. The bright orange and pink panels of fabric that abstractly stretched across the side of white short dresses were a rare injection of colour until, that is, a bold red long top and skirt walked out, an instant reminder of how stunning Anderson’s clothes can be when wants them to. A very brave, bold and thought-provoking collection from a curious designer – a very apt way to end a very busy day.