Jonathan Anderson tells AnOther the story behind his Spring/Summer 2022 JW Anderson collection, which is presented in a calendar photographed by (and starring) Juergen Teller
Since Britain first went into lockdown in March last year, Jonathan Anderson has set a precedent of what a fashion show can look like when it has to be experienced within the four walls of home. Largely eschewing the fashion film format favoured by most other designers, each season he has instead sent intricate boxes of printed ephemera to people’s front doors, the desire to mimic the physicality and intimacy of experiencing a show in person. There have been books and cut-out paper figures, blown-up posters and bundles of photographs, each one an evolution of the last. “I feel like I have done everything that needed to be done,” he says with a smile over Zoom. “I felt like I tried every avenue to keep it going.”
Choosing not to take part in the physical iteration of London Fashion Week which took place this past weekend – where shows felt largely back to normal, save the necessity to present a vaccine passport or negative Covid-19 test to attend – Anderson instead took the at-home “show in a box” on a final outing. This time, it was presented as a calendar for 2022, photographed by Juergen Teller and a playful riff on “pin-up calendars”, as Anderson describes (in particular, the backdrop of a London tire shop seemed a wink to the glossy Pirelli calendar, published annually by the Italian tire manufacturer). “I think sometimes we take ourselves incredibly seriously,” says Anderson of the calendar, which alongside images of models Abby Champion and Mona Tougaard include a series of underwear-clad self-portraits by Teller in his studio. “I feel like you have to have a sense of humour, you have to live in the moment. This was about having fun with the idea of the calendar.”
But there was a symbolic purpose too, the calendar representing a fresh start – that feeling of flipping over the cover to reveal a new month, and a new year. “It’s about coming to the end of a cycle to restart a cycle,” says Anderson. It’s why he says there is a “bluntness” to the looks, using the tan leather shift dress worn by Tougaard as example. “It is such a singular idea, it’s just like ‘this is it,’” he says. “There’s no compromise.”
Here, Anderson tells AnOther the story behind the new collection, in his own words.
“I felt like a calendar was a hopeful symbol of 2022. You know, you map out your year with a calendar. I’ve been really enjoying working with Juergen and randomly saw Mona [Tougaard] on holiday. I like this idea of Juergen turning the camera on himself, and the idea that Mona could just express herself in any way she wanted.
“I wanted to explore a new chapter with this collection. It’s about coming to the end of a cycle to restart a cycle. You know – the two-piece looks, the idea of the shift dress. It’s about something that is very blunt, a singular look. So that when you go into 2022 you’re going in without any baggage. I feel like if you spoke to me five years ago I would have been rushing. I feel like as you get older, you realise if you rush you hit it wrong. That’s what has been exciting about the pandemic, you can think: where can clothing go?
“I think the collection is incredibly optimistic. There’s a new sense of sexuality and sensuality to the looks, that I don’t think we’ve ever done before. It harks back to when we have gone to the 80s with the collections, and done weird and wonderful shapes. This boils down that essence and is a bit more in your face. It’s very like ‘bam’ – there’s no compromise. For me it’s like: who is this girl or guy? What is the silhouette? Ultimately, you have to be honest that if you can’t reinvent yourself you just end up producing the same thing.
“The shift dress is a springboard in a weird way. It is such a singular idea – it’s just like ‘this is it’. The last time I did a shift dress was for menswear, a grey shift dress. That collection felt like the start of something, and I feel like I want to have the positivity to say here that this is the beginning of something, too. We’ve got all of 2022 to do it. I feel really positive.”