JW Anderson's pre-fall 2015 collection aligns the old and the new, in a socially-poignant, very-right-now way, which makes us all want to be his girl for this season, if not indefinitely.
Why the comparison to Miuccia Prada? Well, what makes Miuccia Prada, or any designer worth their weight in "I MUST HAVE IT" products, is their ability to effortlessly articulate the social and political zeitgeist of the past and today, to create something that not only feels new, but feels important – necessary even. Clothing that speaks of its time, and to its time, in its time. Miuccia does this better than anyone.
She once said:
"Nostalgia is a very complicated subject for me. I'm attracted by nostalgia but I refuse it intellectually."
She also, in an interview with System magazine in September 2014, explained the difference in her design processes between Miu Miu and Prada:
"Designing for me is a very complex process. There are many ideas I want to express in the one object, often contradictory. The creative process in Miu Miu is completely different from that of Prada. Miu Miu is not as complicated or thought out as Prada. Rather than being young, Miu Miu is immediate. Prada is very sophisticated and considered; Miu Miu is much more naiive. The solution, when I am working on Miu Miu, has to come immediately, instinctively, spontaneously, with whatever is available at the moment. If I think three times, I stop."
So Miuccia's process is a fight against nostalgia, and her output is the resolution of this struggle, in which she co-aligns the old and the new, or the old in a new way.
This is exactly what I feel JW Anderson has done for his pre-fall 2015 collection, too. Of the collection, he told WWD, "[I was] looking at the Sixties, looking at odd modernity," he said. "It's evoking nostalgia, but not making it decade specific." Sound familiar?
Sure, his ultra-modern edges are still firmly in place – in those extended, split leg lengths, or those abstract, mathematical earrings and scarf-pins – but all of this has been softened through a nostalgic lens. The collection ultimately pays homage to the sixties, and, I would argue, the movements that existed alongside the mini-skirts – notably feminism and civil rights.
Ultimately, fashion is one piece of a great big puzzle that makes up society. Important designers make collections that fit neatly into said puzzle – being affected by, and influencing, all of the pieces around them. Considering we're currently experiencing a re-ignition of the feminist and civil rights movements, JW Anderson's pre-fall 2015 collection neatly fits into the bigger picture, and influences it, too.
Like Miuccia Prada, JW Anderson has given us the thing we want to be right now, and are kind of – slowly but surely at least – becoming: thoughtful, modern suffragettes, who pay homage to the conquests of the past but in no way let those define our future. Our future, alongside (but probably in the shadow of) JW Anderson.
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