Thursday 15th June

| BY Jack Moss

At Pitti, J.W.Anderson Takes It Back To Basics

There’s something to be said about seeing clothes in a different context. And what better context than a villa on the rolling hills just outside of Florence? That’s where Jonathan Anderson transported us this evening for his SS18 J.W.Anderson collection, shuttling the gathered fashion masses on a parade of mini buses. He had said previously that this collection would be a turning point. He’s just marked the brand’s 10 year anniversary and this was time for change. To take it, as he said, “to a new level.” So, in the grand surroundings, where guests sat in the gardens on individually branded J.W.Anderson cushions – Jonathan did the opposite of what was expected – he stripped it back. It began, he told us backstage,with a pair of chinos and a white shirt. This “fetishisation of basics,” as he described it.

And it was basics that underscored the collection – on one look, a plain white t-shirt was worn with chino shorts, there were flip-flops, jeans, a varsity jacket, aran knitwear. “I mean, look at what you are all wearing,” he said to the similarly attired press who were gathered backstage backstage. The impetus for all this came from Florence itself – the boys were, like us, tourists. They even backpacks, albeit accessorised with the same hoops of metal as on his pierce bags. That said – nothing with J.W.Anderson is simple – and these familiar items were played with in print and colour – rows of love hearts – a nod to the city’s associations with romance (“it’s the sexiest city in the world,” he said) or his own brand name, refigured in a swirling, coca-cola-esque typeface. It was a gamble, to be sure, Jonathan has long enlivened London with his ideas-led dressing for so long – but here, that gamble paid off, for the simple reason that these are clothes to wear but pulsating with his own vision. These were J.W.Anderson’s boys – you could spot that a mile off. But – and apologies for the cliche – as the sun set over the Florentine foothills, Jonathan marked a new outlook. He’s pulling it all back to start again.