LONDON, United Kingdom — Jonathan Anderson singled out a particular dress from his Pre-Fall collection as “important.” Even though he doesn’t envisage selling so many of them, he can imagine them lined up on a rack in the dramatic black closet that fills the space he is about to pop up in, adjacent to the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. Take a look at that dress, at the way it is defined by the zippers that decorate the neckline, bunch the fabric, morph new volumes, and it’s not hard to imagine it's the work of someone who has never seen a zipper in their life being handed one and told, “Here, do something with it.” That’s the alluringly odd sci-fi quality — the sense of wide-eyed novelty — that underpins Anderson’s work. It was all through his Pre-Fall, in the way that yesterday and today combined to make tomorrow.
A black leather jacket was trimmed with underwear elastic (that’s what he called it — he blushed when it was suggested that it was like the trim you’d find on panties). Knits, his best-selling category, incongruously duplicated the Edwardian ‘leg’o’mutton’ sleeves from his Spring collection. The fishnet of old French stockings was plasticised for kitten-heel shoes. Bows cast from Bakelite decorated a pair of black drill trousers and a sweater that closed along the shoulder with dramatically oversized hooks and eyes.
That detail highlighted a workwear subtext: a silk nylon shellsuit, a track suit in warm, fuzzy Shetland wool, cargo-pocketed trousers in Irish linen. But those pieces also highlighted the dislocating sci-fi sense of eras colliding, which is an Anderson signature. A track top had Victorian covered buttons, but a fox lining was bursting through the seams, the beast within struggling to get out. A coat dress with ruffled neckline and cuffs would have been equally Victorian-prim in a floral print — “quintessentially British” Anderson called it — except that he cut it from a biker’s black leather.
He said this collection was a full stop to what has come before. After being dubbed Designer of the Year for both womenswear and menswear at the recent British Fashiion Awards, that was a pretty sweeping statement, especially because the clothes offered not closure, but more of the provocative speculation that makes Anderson so continually intriguing. He considers himself an “agitator.” His new bag is called Pierce.It closes with a giant nipple ring. Case rests.