Jonathan Anderson is dreaming of a great escape
The Northern Irish designer just dropped his latest collection for Moncler, drawing inspiration from our return to the great outdoors
Jonathan Anderson is on a roll right now. The Northern Irish mastermind behind both Loewe and his own namesake label has, in recent seasons particularly, been turning out the kind of collections that stop you in your tracks. From the ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ iconography and constellation-like light-up flourishes of his AW22 Loewe menswear collection, and the splattered egg and bulging balloon shoes of his womenswear offerings, to his anticipated Paula’s Ibiza summer capsule and its berserk shades and kitschy bags, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in fashion who’s not got a vast number of J-Dubs’ items on their wishlist at any given moment.
Now, the designer has debuted his gender neutral AW22 collection for Moncler, as he joins forces with the Italian label for yet another season. As part of Moncler’s GENIUS series, this time around, Anderson rewinds back to the 80s, drawing inspiration from the bold street art of the era – and more particularly, the soft-focus, soft-edged effect that comes as a result of using a spray can. Within the offering, swirls of neon pattern swim across functional outerwear bearing all manner of utility pockets, big, bouncy puffers, and lightweight anorak jackets. Knitwear also bears irregular, painterly patterns, too, while robust totes, boxy tees, and relaxed trousers are daubed with messy splodges that call to mind germs seen through a heavy-duty microscopic lens.
Like many of us, Anderson is relishing getting back into the great outdoors after two years spent in various shades of lockdown, which he wanted to reflect in the collection. “It’s about getting out there, a big escape,” the designer explains. “I wanted it to feel very optimistic and include lots of very bright colours. I like the idea of something that’s very youthful and toy-like.” This playful approach is mirrored in the accompanying campaign, which was captured by Anderson’s longtime collaborator Tyler Mitchell. Models wearing the collection slip into an Alice in Wonderland-like maze where JW’s signature anchor is blown up to giant proportions, Roman columns crumple like ribbons, and candy-coloured busts loom around every corner.
Below, Anderson fills us in on the collection, spending time by the sea, and his current inspirations.
Tell me about the inspiration this season?
Jonathan Anderson: I wanted it to feel very optimistic and include very brightly coloured clothing. The kind of bright colours associated with rock climbing and mountaineering. It was also about the idea of getting out there in the big outdoors, a big escape. It’s interesting to explore JW Anderson through the eyes of Moncler. I like the idea of something that’s very youthful and toy-like. No matter what age you are, there’s something nice about the feeling of youthfulness, of novelty somehow.
I love the prints – where did these come from?
Jonathan Anderson: I had been looking at lots of these very 80s patterns, like something you would see in street art, with a sprayed effect – I quite like the aspect of creating a pattern from something that is almost primitive, like the spray can.
What are you going to be wearing from this collection and why?
Jonathan Anderson: I really love the colourful jumper that we did. It’s a cream knit that we discharge printed over the top of, so the white almost becomes dissolved underneath the colours. It’s such a fantastic piece and process.
You’re designing some amazing collections for your own label, Loewe, and Moncler all at once. Do you feel the pressure of working on so many projects? How do you stay sane?
Jonathan Anderson: I just have an amazing group of people that I work with. I’m very decisive in how I work. I like to plan ahead. And I enjoy what I do so it doesn’t feel that I am running out of energy because I ultimately thrive from doing it. Working between two brands and collaborating, taking into account all of the different projects’ needs, ultimately helps keep the creativity fresh.
How do you unwind?
Jonathan Anderson: I often visit the beach near my house in Norfolk on the English coastline. The mood there is very light and relaxed, so it makes for a nice break.
Tell me your methods for beating creative block – what do you do when it strikes?
Jonathan Anderson: Switching my environments so often between London and Paris really keeps me on my toes so I escape creative blocks. They’re both such different places but I appreciate their qualities, so it always keeps me inspired.
What was the last thing that made you feel inspired?
Jonathan Anderson: I’ve been reading a lot more recently about the 70s art movement in America, with people like Paul Thek and David Wojnarowicz and Peter Hujar. The relationships they had with society and what was happening in that moment has been quite inspiring. I like the idea of friendships and people collaborating and looking to one another within the same scene.