Designer of the Year: J.W. Anderson

Designer of the Year: J.W. Anderson

Portrait:Bjorn Iooss/Trunk Archive

The Irish-born designer Jonathan William Anderson started out studying theater but it was his love of stage costumes that first got him interested in fashion. After attending the London College of Fashion, the 30 year-old debuted his first men’s collection during London Fashion Week in 2008. His first menswear collections featured subtle feminine touches. Whether it was the Rasputin references from his 2008 men show or the interwoven leather patchwork from his 2011 collection, Anderson has always had a knack for mixing gender lines. (He once paraded male models down the runway in patent leather knee-high boots.)

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Fall 2008 show

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Fall 2008 show

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Spring 2012 show

Looks: Courtesy of J.W. Anderson

Anderson showed his first women collection in September 2011, which proved that he could liven up a refined aesthetic with subversive touches— like a rubber collar or leather stitching. Soon enough he found fans in everyone from style blogger Susie Bubble to Louis Vuitton designer Nicolas Geshquiere. In 2013, LVMH appointed Anderson as the creative director of Loewe, the 168-year old Spanish luxury leather brand. It could have been strange bedfellows, but his debut collection for the house in Paris in September— it was the week’s hottest ticket— didn’t disappoint. The collection featured leather pants, suede dresses, silk knotted tops and linen pants which became must-haves on every editor’s wish list. Not to be outdone, his own collection was just as impressive: there were slouchy pants, sculpted tops, flowing dresses, accessorized with oversized buttons, lapels and big floppy hats. It was whimsical but still moving the fashion conversation. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

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Womenswear debut show, 2011

Spring 2015 show

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