Jonathan Anderson is a polemic designer whose speed of process is less of a choice than a necessity today, given his unrelenting commitment to designing 10 different collections every twelve months, between Loewe and his eponymous brand. Despite his insistence that his designs are instinctual, anomalous fashion collages, there is an omnipresent veneer of intellectualism that he just can't (and shouldn't) shake, which began at today's Autumn/Winter 2016 runway via his 'show notes'. They were actually a quote from the late decorator David Hicks, and discussed modern society's abundance of choice - the fact we have the right to choose, and that there is just so much of everything to choose from.
The way that abundant eclecticism informed today's collection was multilateral and evolutionary, constructed in the triptych manner to which he is accustomed - same outfit, different colour ways repeated and woven through his runway narrative to reinforce the silhouette in all its linear and textural oddities. This time around, hoop-like boning sculpted bouncy bubble skirts in waves of fabric – a conceit that returned throughout the show’s ergonomic offer as a futuristic contouring exercise that scaled up and down across the flowing, warped silhouette. A primary coloured three-stripe lip then careened around the hems of miniskirts or up a blouse and, along with stiff habit hoods and detached pockets in jockey satin, joined a plethora of athletically inclined elements that Anderson twisted around the body with the haughty airs of cocktail wear. Wide satin tops were thrashed with violent flocking, tabard knits bloomed with an intarsia of lichen, and one quilted top framed a black embroidered rose – each contributing a new chapter to Anderson’s exponential archive of symbolism that at times reads celtic, at others banal, but always with origins left unexplained.
Leveled on tied steel cylinder heels or a kaleidoscopic fish-scaled pump, Anderson’s designs employed both studs and zips as partition and surface decoration; the former creating wiggly tiers on puckered tunics and flared trousers, the latter forming cabochon kneepads on stiff leather trews and a full surface ‘chainmail’ of studs on a scooped gilet blouse. Although simpler moments shone amongst his more complex manipulations – a black crepe sheath cinched with soft folded leather was an austere triumph – it was the idea of fashion for fashion’s sake that trumped this collection. It left the appetites of editors and buyers alike satiated by unexpected, desirable wares that pushed our collective buttons hard and fast.