JW Anderson’s SS23 collection combines surrealism and video games.

The transformation of everyday items into unusual clothing

Jonathan Anderson‘s SS23 presentation, held yesterday in a vintage arcade in London, had a bizarre Alice in Wonderland feel to it. The garments and styles looked like alienating abstractions of everyday items, sarcastic reversals of a reality that continues to switch with the virtual and vice versa. In a world where the physical WORLD and metaverse interact paradoxically, amidst identity changes, and in a liminal space suspended between the two worlds that is symbolized by the arcade that becomes a metaphor for technology, the reference to our relationship with technology remained prevalent. Tops made entirely of keyboard buttons and prints from stock photos used as wallpaper speak of the “nature filtered by digital ego” in this world.

The surrealist technique is also applied outside the real digital world to the realm of commonplace objects, captured in a photograph that is simultaneously realistic, ironic, and deforming: the final look, for instance, which is a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, is a transformation in the form of a black neoprene sheath dress of a commemorative T-shirt that is currently being worn in London; Elsewhere, a sweater on a model’s torso is posing on a clothes hanger. This is not only playful, but also reminiscent of the Maison’s Margiela Artisan Collection. Hammocks and steel lampshades become clothing, interior labels become the central decorative elements of tunic-sized T-shirts, jeans waists become T-shirt collars, and shorts pack like down jackets and balloons. The skirt is hard as wood, the plastic bag with fishnet is actually the top, and the t-shirt is adorned with plastic fins like a surfboard (just like Emily Ratajkowski).

A jumpsuit, a shirt, a skirt, and a dress were the rigid compositional essentials on which all of these visual and semantic gymnastics were built. Even the most inventive and original pieces were inherently simple objects but were expertly crafted by focusing on «the essential forms, the exaggerated details, the simple yet complex obviousness». Each outfit consisted of roughly two to three items without accessories and shoes. Which creates harmony and simplifies a compilation that almost entirely lacks simplicity but whose weird, humorous, and abstract message is oddly harsh and brief.

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