J.W. Anderson's intimate show for spring/summer 2017 wasn't one for claustrophobes. The front (and only) row in a tightly-packed, vibrant green corridor was so close to the runway that bags brushed attendees' knees as the models walked by. And, my god, the bags! But, first, let's talk about the clothes. Designer Jonathan Anderson said of his collection backstage: "We started with the idea how do we make it more grounded...taking things from the past and bringing them to the present and playing with this idea, one I have done before of overt masculinity." And while he continued to challenge societal conventions on dressing, this season, he took inspiration from the masculine shapes of the wardrobe of Tudor king Henry VIII; the result, however, was decidedly girly (despite its royal influence), and perhaps the most wearable offering to date. Comprised of ombre fades and rainbow shades, which included vivid yellows, pinks, and blues; the selection featured luxurious semi-quilted shirts, knitted tunics with exaggerated, doughnut-shaped cuffs and necklines; a ruched bomber-jacket dress; and pieces with undulating hemlines. Traditional shapes, too, were reworked in different textiles, particularly linen, to give them an undergarment feel: "I've always been obsessed by linen, I think that's because when I was a child, when I was at home in Ireland that was my first interaction with material and fabric," Anderson explained. "We did corduroy linen many years ago, but this time I wanted something that felt crafty and artisan."
And let's not forget about the accessories. Most looks were topped off with mismatched earrings and lace-up boots (though we were very into the ballet flat-grandma heel hybrid), but the true standouts also featured Anderson's latest It bags, a slung-over-the-shoulder hobo that features similar detailing as the Pierce (and could easily become as popular in 2017) and a rope-handle bucket bag decorated with grommets and fringed leather. This was, once again, an exquisite collection from Jonathan Anderson, London's most revered young designer, who consistently creates luxury fashion in an experimental, thought-provoking, and subversive way. Is this season slightly more commercial than years past? Yes. Luckily, this is one example that a move toward making clothing more sellable doesn't necessarily mean creativity needs to be compromised. And we're here for it.