“The idea is that it is an inflated archive,” Jonathan Anderson told LN-CC during the Moncler Genius launch event earlier this year. Replacing Pierpaolo Piccioli, Jonathan looked perfectly at home as part of Moncler Genius, the project-cum-explosion of creative energy that initially saw eight designers reimagine its iconic down-filled outerwear back in 2018. For his debut, the Northern Irish designer opted to breathe fresh life into a selection of his most iconic designs, literally inflating archive JW Anderson items – like the Riviera hat from spring/summer 15 and the ruffled shorts from autumn/winter 14 – by reinterpreting them in duvet to create. Playing with the form, functionality and technical trickery of Moncler, Jonathan added his taste for blunt abstraction and playful subversion. Since he launched his eponymous label in 2008, the London College of Fashion graduate and former Prada visual merchandiser has transformed himself from a taste-tightrope-walking provocateur into one of the industry’s leading creative directors. This collaboration is a celebration of his past, present and future.
Over the course of its twelve years in the spotlight, JW Anderson has challenged convention, subverted suppositions and pushed possibilities. As Jonathan’s talent evolved from provocative promise into guiding genius, his unique design aesthetic has provided thought-provoking silhouettes through a conscious cross-pollination between menswear and womenswear elements. This idiosyncratic perspective, which earned his menswear label a cult following, prompted JW Anderson to present a women’s capsule collection in 2010 and binaries have been blurred ever since as he continually heralds subversion by way of elegance. His pieces, pure and architectural in design, relentlessly defy staid notions and gender barriers to propose a progressive, non-binary vision of what fashion should be.
“I believe that garments are for garments sake, anyone can wear them,” Jonathan told Vogue around the announcement of his eponymous brand’s co-ed shows back in 2017. “I never believed that there was a binary – but it wasn’t as though I was playing around with costume, it was just about proportion,” he continued. “It’s taken me a while to understand what a ruffled short could look like today and for me, it’s about both men and women being able to show flesh. There’s something sensual for everyone, all shapes, all sizes,” Jonathan told LN-CC last year. The Moncler JW Anderson range builds on this spirit with everything meant to be worn indifferently by men and women. It’s a down-filled manifesto for us all to be whoever we want to be. To celebrate its launch, we asked visual artist Florence Omotoyo to do just that in the collection. Alongside fellow visual artist, good friend and flatmate Alex Lapina, the Harlow-born, Camden-based creative pushes perceptions by shooting the collection through various face filters.
“I think too much emphasis can be put on gender, and in reality, how you choose to identify yourself is a personal choice and one that should be respected and empowered,” Florence explained over email as he shared the shoot. “By understanding what your gender means to you and how you want to express yourself, allows us to understand ourselves outside the constructed framework of society which sadly does not acknowledge the reality of gender-queer experiences.” Fashion and technology can both be tools in self-identity and self-expression. “They allow us to come to terms with ourselves and the many desires, ideas, histories, wants and needs one carries,” she continues. “I think it is a really beautiful part of coming to know one's self as an individual and where you choose to place yourself in the greater community.”