JW Anderson RTW Fall 2021

Blankets have been blanketing the virtual catwalks this season as designers tap into a craving for comfort in these strange, and often brutal times. So many designers have done them (along with hefty knits and enveloping coats) and the latest is Jonathan Anderson who collaborated with two artist friends, Dame Magdalene Odundo and Shawanda Corbett, on a series of limited-edition blankets based on three works from each artist.

They’ll be sold alongside his fall-winter 2021 collection, which was all about form, silhouette and the body as a vessel, something to be adorned or wrapped up, which is a familiar theme in Anderson’s work.

Anderson’s exaggerated volumes – the bulbous knit dresses; folded, rippling trench coats; and chunky, sparkly glam rock boots – all mimicked the inviting curves, colors and organic shapes of the artists’ ceramics. How to fit them into suitcase might be problematic, but with few people traveling now, who cares? Geometric cutout sweaters; thick ribbed knits; and oversized boiler suits took up less space, and offered up the sort of chic-edged comfort a homebound woman – no matter what shape or size she happens to be – needs right now.

JW Anderson RTW Fall 2021

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Anderson said he wanted to do something “cleaner and more curatorial, with a focus on the silhouette, in this incredibly difficult, and complex season” of full lockdown in the U.K. Once again, he presented the collection in the form of posters, which he sent to press, buyers and clients. The images, which show the artists, their ceramics, and models wearing the blankets and the fall collection, were shot by Juergen Teller.

The designer has also been taking these months to work out how fashion should be showcased during – and after – the pandemic, and says there is no going back. “You cannot re-create what used to happen; you are never going to get a solution from imitating the past, and I’m enjoying exploring what the future could be.”

Anderson also pointed out – rightly – that it’s difficult for him and other designers to convey “a tactile message.” Few people can feel the fabrics, and nearly everything is being done on the screen, so the silhouettes have to speak for themselves. They certainly spoke loudly and proudly about diversity, inclusivity – and the undeniable luxury of hiding under a warm blanket.

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