- Text Alex James Taylor
- Photography Tomas Turpie
- 17th September 2017
Deconstructing his usual show space – a labyrinth of narrow, claustrophobic corridors – Jonathan Anderson sat guests in a spiralling series of circles. Here there was space to walk, to think, to not have handbags whack you across the face and models step on your toes.
“Against the complexity of contemporary life, there is sanctuary in clarity, simplicity and focus,” read the show notes – it’s amazing what a bit of furniture rearranging can do. This meditative atmosphere was reflected in the clothing. Silhouettes came stripped back and softened, rendered in a range of fabrics that screamed “comfort”, think thin jerseys, knits you can lounge in and linen tea towel material reimagined as branded skirts and wide leg trousers.
Last season’s knee-length leather boots were left at home as Anderson opted for hi-top sneakers, half way between baseball boots and moccasins, with chevron stitches edged around the sole. Proving that comfort and sexuality aren’t mutually exclusive, asymmetrical crop tops and apertures in skirts were subtle in their reveal, demonstrating the power of the tease. Here were wardrobe essentials, J.W. Anderson-style.
In the centre of the space stood a tall totem pole-like frame displaying three pieces of artwork by Isamu Noguchi, Nicholas Byrne and Franz Erhard Walther. The structure, along with Nicholas Byrne’s Love Pillow – a wooden wide-eyed, swaddled baby – and a series of cast silver objects by Anne Low, stood on a circular handwoven grass mat by Anthea Hamilton.
On show at the Hepworth gallery earlier this year – alongside Anderson’s own exhibition, Disobedient Bodies – Hamilton and Bryne’s works combined to re-imagine the holdings of Cambridge’s Kettle’s Yard – the home-cum-gallery that Jim Ede founded in 1957 as ‘a living place where works of art could be enjoyed’.
It’s not difficult to join the dots here. For Anderson, it was all about the luxury of comfort – that feeling was palpable. A collection to be lived in, not just worn.