The necklaces and bags Takuro worked on are based on Japanese tea ceremony cups. Do you want to bring a sense of ceremony to the way people dress?
“I think everyone has their unique ceremony when they get dressed in the morning. Some people like the idea of a uniform so they don’t have to make decisions, like when they went to school; I like this idea of performance and it’s something I’m exploring with [my own brand] JW Anderson, dressing up even if you’re just going to work.”
Why is it important to you to do collaborations like this?
“Craft really speaks to me; there’s a tangible reality to it. I often think we forget clothing is made by people — we don’t really look any more because we are so used to seeing enhanced 2D backlit images. So I’m focusing on the idea of the atelier, the people making the clothes to reintroduce the emotion, the texture and the human touch back into fashion.”
There are a lot of voluminous silhouettes for AW20. What informed these designs?
“This season was about exploring volumes. I was thinking about fashion in post-war Paris — designers [such as] Dior and Balenciaga — its influence on other European countries and how it was a lost in translation. When these patterns were shipped overseas to England and Spain for example, people would go to a seamstress and the details would change, the fabric would change and they’d morph into something else.
“We developed fabrics from scratch in France, Italy and Japan — woven jacquards in wool and silk. There’s lots of beading with a dégradé effect, exploring the idea of clothing as jewellery. Some of the looks are styled with sneakers, I like grounding something like a frock coat, and we’ve designed a leather bag based on Japanese basketry.”
So Japanese art and culture has played a big part in this collection?
“Japan has always been an influence for me. When I went to Kyoto [for the 2019 Loewe Craft Prize] it was amazing to see these houses designed centuries before [German-American architect Ludwig] Mies van der Rohe. This idea of modernity transcends time, it’s about making buildings that engage with the environment. In Europe, in medieval times, we were building spaces with bad lighting and dark furniture.”
The way in which we have built the fashion industry, more specifically fashion shows and their relevance, are coming under increasing scrutiny. What do you think the future holds?
“Everyone loves the idea fashion shows ceasing to exist, but at the same time we want content, and they’re very good ways of creating content. Every designer has to find their own rhythm and not follow the status quo. If Tom Ford wants to do a show in LA then he should do a show in LA. You have to do what’s right for you rather than mimic the system.
“For me personally, the [purpose of a] fashion show is that it [creates a] beginning and an end — here’s an idea, it lasts a certain amount of time and then, bam! You move on. It’s like a full stop. How else can we articulate clothing?
“Ten years ago everyone was saying, ‘Oh, the show is going to go digital and we’re going to live stream it’ but that didn’t happen. There is something about being able to see the emotional side of fashion, this strange idea of models walking around a room where people are brought together to debate fashion – get rid of that and you lose a lot. It’s like saying, ‘Why should we have exhibitions anymore?’”
So do you think fashion should be held in the same regard as art or architecture, for example?
“By now, I think we’ve broken down these elite boundaries and we can look at art, fashion, architecture and so on and just [appreciate] creativity. Younger generations are questioning, ‘Why do things have to be this way or that way?’ and I think that’s the very purpose of painting a picture or making a dress — it should reflect or challenge the moment we are living in.
“Both fashion and art are commerce at the end of the day; fashion gets a harder time because it’s sold in [vaster] quantities, but the art world has become more of a marketplace than anyone would care to admit.”