What’s in a name? A lot, it appears. Recent studies have suggested that using your middle name can trick people into thinking that you’re more intellectual than you really are. J.W. Anderson is praised for just that: cerebral, considered designs that swathe around the body in glorious defiance of the needle-and-thread specificity of Savile Row—thesis and antithesis. This season, the silhouette appeared to move inward, narrower, to what Suzy Menkes described as “tidy mademoiselle tailoring.” It looked uncharacteristically prim. Then, Anderson’s perverse disregard for proportions was evident in the minutiae, magnified: huge buttons that fell from models’ heads to their hem; angular sleeves, exaggerated lapels and collars, and those deflated leather wraps that weren’t quite belt, weren’t quite bustier.
Some models had floppy fishermen’s hats obscuring their faces. They weren’t entirely necessary, or purposeful. And, of course, lengths of rope pulled through these dresses held together disparate panels of the garment rather haphazardly. If only the editing had been so tight. One gets the feeling that a gust of wind could have pulled apart the whole thing. These nautical references were hit and miss (mostly miss), anchored in something too abstract. Anderson’s name has resounding cool factor, we know that. It tops the list whenever there’s mention of a particular new breed of iconoclasts emerging from London’s underground. But he can’t sail on his reputation forever.