Belfast Telegraph

Ulster rugby hero's designer son wows Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof at London Fashion Week

By Bairbre Power

He is only 29, but Northern Irish boy JW Anderson can do no wrong in the world of fashion, where his rise has been rapid – and the front row at his London Fashion Week show underlined his star quality.

Among those captivated by his collection were Vogue's contributing editor and broadcaster Alexa Chung and model and socialite Pixie Geldof.

Before the packed show on Saturday, his audience was fixated on discussing the industry rumour that luxury brand LVMH – owners of Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Fendi – have him in their sights and are interested in investing in his company.

LMVH owns a 49% share in Bono and Ali Hewson's Edun range and rumours swirled that the Magherafelt boy who worked in Dublin store Brown Thomas is about to go seriously international before turning 30.

JW – the son of Ireland rugby hero Willie Anderson – is commercially savvy and works with Donatella Versace at Versus and with Topshop, so his credentials are impeccable. And his genius for conceptual fashion was in no doubt after a thoroughly exhilarating show full of textural landscapes.

There was loads to love – from the asymmetric external knots and geometric shapes to smocked dresses, twisted jumpers and leather skirts with high-low hemlines.

Jonathan – who can include singer-songwriter and actress Rita Ora among his many fans – seduced the fashionistas with his take on the Japanese art of folding and the chevron patterns on the floor matched the ones executed in pleated 3D leather.

This new collection is his most gender-specific for years. This is the boy who put girls in men's pyjamas and boys in kilts and who likes to see the sexes share wardrobe pieces.

As for his dad, JW displays all of his talent for sidestepping on the field of play.

After the show, the designer on the cusp of becoming a household name would not be drawn on the rumours of LMVH's interest in him, saying only: "I'm here to talk about the collection. Rumours are just rumours."

He told The Guardian his collection wasn't paying homage to housewives.

"That would be a bit dull," he said, after greeting Jefferson Hack and American Vogue's Hamish Bowles. "It's more about being wipe-clean – wearing something that doesn't compromise."

"You have to push yourself," he added. "I used georgette, which I would never normally, but you need to feel uncomfortable."

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