The belief that “successful” fashion must also be uncomfortable is misguided. Perhaps by reflecting on the development of dress throughout history, we see this notion reinforced with examples of elitists using clothing as a means to project wealth and status—to carefully adorn themselves with excess, asserting an identity that demanded superficial respect. But as time has progressed, these layers have distilled into more casual ideologies surrounding personal style—a degeneration that’s dramatically heightened in the past few decades, as streetwear’s become so widely explored, its once niche name is now synonymous with ready-to-wear.
Contemporary fashion pillars are praised today for the way they effortlessly wear their Vetements hoodie with a pair of Saint Laurent denim and custom sneakers in an everyday ensemble that would’ve been scoffed by core industry influencers not too long ago. An obsession with detail and aspirational living has been seemingly replaced with comfort, perhaps due to the growth of coffee shop culture and planting ourselves behind laptops for hours on end, privately chipping away at work. This isn’t to say we’ve become culturally lazy, but our expectations for public presentation have certainly become more lenient than ever before.
During J.W. Anderson’s London menswear presentation, which first streamed on Grindr this weekend, the relaxed attitude we’ve been documenting was greatly amplified. Anderson’s take, however, didn’t fall beneath the streetwear umbrella, instead spearheading the largely uncharted world of loungewear. The British designer, though famously armed with a challenging and provocative eye, always manages to create clothing that looks easy on the moving body, and for fall 2016, Anderson’s approach emanated even stronger comfortability.
Billowing silk coats and matching trousers were key looks this season, offering loose, luxurious sets for relaxing after-hours with a cigar in one hand, and a cocktail in the other. It’s easy to imagine the setting where these would have a home, perhaps beneath the flickering light of a slow-burning candle and set to the smooth sounds of experimental jazz—an archetypal scenario, though Anderson’s aesthetic, of course, infused a nontraditional queer ethos into the lineup of laid-back looks.
Some models wore matching knit turtlenecks and trousers with elongated sleeves that spread to their fingertips, quietly recalling childhood pajamas. This intimate feel continued onto oversized cardigans that extended to models’ knees, designed with breaks in the knit to resemble a well-loved layering piece you’ve had for years and wear at home on days off. The collection’s central recurring motif—a graphic snail—conceptually tied back to Anderson’s exploration of loungewear for fall, seemingly alluding to the slow pace of mollusks, though he said it was commentary on the fashion industry’s hasty speed.
Beyond Anderson, loungewear spread its roots across several other menswear presentations in London last week, as well. Craig Green manifested the look into silk sets and floor-length smocks; Sibling, when the collection’s campy exterior gets broken down, introduced loungewear through dramatic Fair Isle warm-up robes, and Edward Crutchley celebrated his Yorkshire roots by embroidering family nicknames onto giant silk, fringed wraps. There’s definitely something bubbling, here, and we’re completely on board for this forthcoming chapter in fashion. Watch Anderson’s presentation, below: