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In the Book of Genesis young Onan is asked to impregnate his brother Er’s widow, but instead he purposefully “spilled his semen on the ground” – which is how the word onanism came about. How then to explain J.W. Anderson’s show of, according to its sparse notes, “domestic onanism or how to both conjure up and glorify dullness through a stringent exercise of shapes”? This wasn’t a show about sex, but about architecture and silhouettes – thrillingly futuristic silhouettes, like nothing else out there. Straitjackets, sliced skirts, split backs; tight-ruched turtlenecks and baggy crumpled trousers suspended by crossed white belts (the sort of crossed white belts that Jodie Marsh once wore as a top); drapery hanging sideways off the body as if suspended in space. There were tied-up leathers, and fleece-backed nylons, and cheap pinball machine prints. And while his men’s show was all miniskirts and hotpants, this was a collection of elongated bodies and jarring, unexpected lines. “Everything had to feel modern, feel relevant,” J.W. explained afterwards, in a buzzing backstage. “Something that’s evolving every time, and you’re finding new lines, and trying to find new proportions. Chopping them, sabotaging them, pulling them into ways where they really feel like domestic, suspended architectures. You need to have something where a line doesn’t feel right.” This really was London’s most compelling show.
J.W. Anderson’s five words to describe the collection:
Text: Dean Kissick
Catwalk Photography: Mitchell Sams