"What young girls would want to wear…" is what is thrown around about J.W. Anderson's womenswear collection which, now only in its second season has garnered a lot of key stockists already with ASOS and Liberty getting behind him in a big way (have spotted at least three of those heart-embroidered tees already at LFW…). Peeking at the new S/S 11 collection, when people say 'young', perhaps what they mean is 'awkward'. I mean that in the best way possible. J.W. Anderson seems to have developed of a knack of tapping into a sensibility where there's an element of feeling lost, misguided or socially awkward – aka the gawky girl who doesn't quite feel comfortable in her skin but can definitely mish mash an outfit together that say a multitude of things that she physically can't. Well, goes without saying that I personally relate to that in a big way as well a gazillion other girls (when I say girl, it's also a state of mind thing… when does social awkwardness supposedly end anyway?)
When I saw the sketches of J.W. Anderson's collection at a New Gen panel meeting, I was already blown away with the richness and depth of references that he had pulled up, leaving no detail unturned. Photography William Gedney was the underlying influence of the collection as well as being literally turned out as prints on t-shirts. His portrayal of hippy youth in the 70s definitely forms a backbone except from the sometimes-haunting imagery, J.W. Anderson has brought it to life with marvellous fabric choices such as bleached out Liberty print and an appropriate South American cultural mining that can be seen in the jewellery, all blended into the easy, ever so preppy and again pleasingly awkward separates that you can't ever be too precious about as these are clothes meant to be thrown on without too much preamble. It's also interesting how Anderson has overturned some of the references to what I can only describe as err… older, hippy boho wear… (come on, you know the kind of clothes I'm talking about… Camden has a few stores specialising in them)… and has made the aesthetic young and relevant in the collection. When the entirity all comes together, it's anything but awkward and instead, you can't help but buy into the vision, the story and the idea of escaping in these clothes, for actual teenagers who will be experiencing some of the aforementioned awkwardness, and for some adults, who masochistically want to relive that all over again. Which is probably why it will be hard for me not to start pre-ordering pieces (Liberty have already started selling some of the S/S 11 clothing and accessories).