FA SHION HOUSE

JW An­der­son is turn­ing his at­ten­tion from clothes to fur­ni­ture. By He­lena Lee.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Fashionable Life Bazaar -

“I’m hav­ing a very odd re­la­tion­ship with fash­ion right now,” Jonathan An­der­son tells me. “It’s a kind of love­hate re­la­tion­ship.” These are sur­pris­ing words from the man whose epony­mous la­bel J. W. An­der­son has re­cently scooped an un­prece­dented two Bri­tish Fash­ion Awards for wom­enswear and menswear, and who is the creative di­rec­tor of the 170-year-old lux­ury la­bel Loewe. “I like the speed of fash­ion, where you don’t have to over­cal­cu­late an idea,” he con­tin­ues as though to qual­ify his ad­mis­sion, “but I do feel like I have to di­gress into other projects.”

We are here to talk about this other project—his foray into fur­ni­ture for Loewe. Dis­play­ing his cus­tom­ary use of bold colour and sub­ver­sion of the clas­sic, An­der­son has taken ex­ist­ing pieces and em­bel­lished them us­ing in­tar­sia, a type of mar­quetry. How­ever, in­stead of wood, the pat­terns have been painstak­ingly cre­ated with leather—the ma­te­rial that the fash­ion house was built on—and each item took six months to make. “I wanted to see how far leather could be pushed. It doesn’t au­to­mat­i­cally need to be made into a hand­bag,” he says. “I wanted to rein­vent the fur­ni­ture by us­ing leather for dé­coupage.”

Among the col­lec­tion are strik­ing draw­ers adorned with fiery-hued tulips, pri­mary-coloured stan­dard lamps, and screens with scenes of wild waves and jump­ing blue-sil­ver carp. There are also wardrobes, ta­bles, and cigar boxes (“I think they’re so hy­perly chic.”) that ex­hib­ited at the Salonedel Mo­bile fair from April 12 to 17, and then at the Loewe store in Mi­lan. Par­tic­u­larly strik­ing are two chairs from 1900 by Mackay Hugh Bail­lie Scott, one of the lead­ers of the Arts & Crafts move­ment in Bri­tain. They have been sub­ject to an ir­rev­er­ent but deluxe up­scal­ing: one is clothed in Pop pri­mary colours (“The pat­tern is quite bad taste—a lit­tle bit Mi­ami.”); the other is a bar­rel chair that has been lac­quered with Ja­panese wax and the raf­fia re­placed with leather.

An­der­son took his cue from the Omega Work­shops, a short-lived off­shoot of the Blooms­bury Group, founded by the painter and critic Roger Fry in 1913. Mem­bers would of­fer in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion ser­vices, and work over the top of ex­ist­ing fur­ni­ture, of­ten draw­ing on the lan­guage of the avant-garde to cre­ate pieces such as Cu­bist-in­spired rugs. “At Charleston House, there are pictures of [Omega mem­bers] Vanessa Bell and Dun­can Grant paint­ing onto dif­fer­ent things,” says An­der­son. “I love that the work­shops were about this unique col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween an artist and a craftsper­son, to cre­ate this in­tel­lec­tual and cul­tural mo­ment.” ‘

“My soul-search­ing with fash­ion con­cerns the way cloth­ing should also be a cul­tural in­flu­encer,” he says. “While I like speed, I also need to let things have time to breathe, and that’s why, as a creative di­rec­tor, I have to ap­ply my­self to as many things as pos­si­ble. It’s kind of an ad­dic­tion.” www.loewe.com

Lily of the Val­ley wardrobe Koi par­avent

Rock Val­ley cof­fee table

Wave cigar box

Wave long chair

Tulip and Koi note­books

Lily of the Val­ley lamp

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