LFW: J. W. ANDERSON F/W 2014

To call J. W. Anderson a minimalist is an understatement.  We’ve not yet seen a women’s collection from this designer that wasn’t focused on clean lines and careful folds, artistry above functionality or practicality. Nothing has changed in that regard.

What we see for this season is a blend of heavy fabrics, including a surprising amount of corduroy, styled in a way that is about as close to body contouring as a minimalist can come. I mean, the seventh and eighth looks are each an interesting cross between a crop and halter top. Prior to that, we see hints of a post-modern bustier built into the tops of dresses. Anderson is really doing some very interesting work with this collection.

Traditionalists are still going to find the collection challenging, with an aesthetic that frequently comes across as stiff and boxy. The looks have a monochrome feel to them even though Anderson is talented at bringing accent colors in at just the right place. Still, there are times the pieces come across as something from a futuristic monastery.

Consider the skirts on a couple of separate ensembles where folds precisely layered down the front can’t help but look too much like apron, invoking a sense of servitude that I’m assuming is not intentional. Anderson’s careful construction is admirable. He brings an architectural aesthetic to bear that draws strong lines and careful symmetry.  How well the pieces actually work in the real work is questionable, though.

Toward the end of the collection, there are three print ensembles where Anderson gives tunic-based tops large exaggerated collars. As unappealing as that may sound to read, the effect is actually quite attractive. Anderson wisely leaves the collars open in front, avoiding what otherwise might have been an unfortunately whack-a-mole resemblance.

So it goes with several of the items in this J. W. Anderson collection. I think everyone who gives it careful consideration will find elements they really like midst others that leave them scratching their heads. Such is the nature of minimalist lines. Keep looking, though, and enjoy the artistry of the fashion.

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