J.W. Anderson has risen to become one of the industry’s most feted designers. Known for his gender bending fashion innovation, Anderson currently resides at the helm of his own label and of Spanish luxury goods company Loewe. Now, in the wake of his FW16 menswear show last month, Anderson has released a book – entitled “The Rain In Spain Stays Mainly In The Plain” – which presents unisex pieces from his collections, from archive pieces to present ones. This book is the first millennial fashion book that integrates the idea of a gender neutral society.
Gender-bending is nothing new in fashion or pop culture. But in large-scale, high-end fashion, the theme has not been conveyed as loudly or as frequently since a young Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Marc Bolan toyed with feminized looks in the late 1960s. But today, thanks to a troupe of contemporary designers—such as J.W. Anderson—this theme of gender-neutral dress has been re-imagined.
The youth culture wholistically embraces the gender neutral fashion movement. For example the viral pics of Jaden Smith, the 17-year-old actor, musician, and soundbite generator who landed a new modeling gig as the face of Louis Vuitton womenswear took to instagram with the message, “Thank You So Much For The Opportunity To Impact This World”, which in turn sparked followers to further the message.
Contemporary designers now imagine that clothes should just be clothes. This mantle is carried by successful, high-end designers such as Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, Alessandro Michele at Gucci, and Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, who favor traditional feminine elements such as capes, skirts, and tights in their menswear runway collections.
The J. W. Anderson book is the first millennial fashion book to normalize gender neutral fashion after the runway. The book “The Rain In Spain Stays Mainly In The Plain” was created by acclaimed publisher Luis Venegas, who is behind publications including Fanzine137, EY! Magateen and CANDY. “I was given total creative freedom to work on the project, so I decided to try something new, not just my usual work as an editor,” says Venegas.
For the project, Venegas requested his favorite pieces from the designer’s archive. “Ultimately, there’s something refreshingly pragmatic about Anderson’s attitude” he told Business of Fashion earlier this week, “Heed it, all you doubters who wonder at the provocations he parades in the name of fashion. Jonathan is one of the most exciting creative minds working in fashion today,” he continues, “It’s undeniable that every time he creates something new there’s a devoted audience. His audience is always excited to see what he’s doing…”
The book release ties in with last week’s opening of J.W. Anderson Workshops, a Shoreditch concept store inspired by Bloomsbury Group’s Omega Workshops that will act as a creative platform for upcoming events and installations.