I did warn you guys back when I posted about J.W. Anderson's mainline collections that his upcoming collaboration with Topshop was going to immense, bucking all other Topshop collections gone before to threaten your purse strings on the eve of London Fashion Week. Well the deluge of lookbook images and stills are pretty much all over the internetz now and it is clear that for his first collaboration with Topshop, Anderson's thinking was definitely go big or go home. The collection aims to explore the potential of J.W. Anderson as a brand, an independent designer's tongue-in-cheek take on corporate branding as his Topshop collaboration will be priced between 99p to £129.99 resulting in a J.W. Anderson supermarket of sorts. Sweeties, pins, disposable cameras, post-its, postcards and pencils are the starter items, moving on up to iPad cases to backpacks, hats and then finally to the clothes themselves. Anderson was obsessed with the idea of making his collaboration with Topshop truly democratic and accessible and with this stationary slash tuck slash gift shop vibe of the collection he's certainly succeeded. The in-store J.W. Anderson x Topshop experience will be designed by set designer Gary Card, to further bring us into Anderson's universe. You'll be able to shop from a catalogue from the pop-up space too which makes me think of some sort of fashion-y reinterpretation of Argos. Entirely appropriate for what promises to be a grab-grab-grab shopping scenario, when the collection goes on sale on September 14th.
The brilliant thing is that even though the little bonus tidbits such as the J.W. Anderson-branded sweeties and pencils are throwaway and cute, when it comes to the clothes, the broad collection actually packs a directional punch. They're pieces that are meant to be chopped, changed and styled completely to your spec. Anderson goes over themes that he has previously touched upon - the school girl, maligned punk/goth kids, Americana high school prep and produces a wide range of pieces that skews both the conventional and unusual. Logo-ed button down shirts and jumpers are Anderson's own twist on the Ralph Laurens and Abercrombies of Americana fashion. School pinafores, peter-pan collar dresses and neat loafers are the nods to the more sombre J.W. Anderson girl. The collection builds up in momentum when we get to the printed jeans, with abstracted takes on tortoise and a blocky graphic resembling his S/S 12 digitalised paisley. His previous occupation with paisley gets revived for some awesome sets of quilted skirts and t-shirts that are begging to be mixed and matched together, preferably with the printed jeans underneath, forming a trio of layers that isn't too dissimilar from the quilted wrapper skirts of his A/W 12-3 collection. More S/S 12 reminders come in the shape of the striped shift dresses The jumpers knitted with ghosts and evil eyes and the jersey t-shirts printed with Tumblr-friendly imagery will be no brainers for girls who haven't a clue who J.W. Anderson is.
In fact, most of the collection doesn't really need to be bought into with prior knowledge of Anderson's collections. The prices and versatility will easily sway your average Topshop girl (and possibly boy). I will relish seeing the intended customer, not just fash-pack insiders, take pieces from this collection and make them truly their own. For the sake of showing the broad range of the collection, I've gone for the prescription method and worn the collection head to toe in some instances here but in reality, most of these pieces have the mileage to go into endless outfit situations. Fixating on which prints or which styles to go for will be the tricky part. In particular with the printed jeans and quilted pieces, there's a temptation to take em' all just to try out all the different print-mix combos.
J.W. Anderson's Topshop takeover doesn't end here as a second collection drops early next year, which will further set the tone for Topshop's strengthening of Topshop's young Brit-pack designer collaborations, just when we thought we were getting tired of the c word.