JW Anderson and A.P.C. have joined creative forces to introduce their latest collaborative collection, drawing inspiration from the iconic performance art piece by renowned German artist Joseph Beuys, titled ‘I Like America and America Likes Me’.
In May 1974, Beuys embarked on a symbolic protest against the Vietnam War, embarking on a journey from Dusseldorf to New York. During this remarkable odyssey, within the confines of an ambulance, Beuys enveloped himself in a felt blanket, effectively shielding himself from the visual stimuli of America and symbolizing his isolation from the external world. His mission culminated in a profound three-day confinement within the René Block Gallery, where he shared space with a coyote.
The JW Anderson and A.P.C. collection deftly translates Beuys’s profound artistic message into the realm of fashion. Conceived as an ideal wardrobe encapsulating the essence of Jonathan Anderson’s distinctive personal style, this collection caters to both women and men. It revolves around two distinct silhouettes.
The first silhouette embodies a more fitted and rocker-inspired aesthetic, featuring elements such as black denim, a classic biker jacket, and hand-painted cotton knits.
The second silhouette leans towards a bohemian and hippie-inspired aesthetic, characterized by loose shapes, multicolored knitwear, and well-worn denim. A standout feature of this collection is the introduction of a stonewashed effect, a remarkable achievement accomplished using laser technology without any chemical processes—a noteworthy first for A.P.C.
Throughout the collection, subtle yet poignant references to Beuys’s historic performance are interwoven. The rugged wool used in the duffle coat, for instance, artfully echoes Beuys’s iconic felt blanket. Bold graphic elements, such as depictions of the ambulance and the gallery’s address (409 West Broadway), grace vividly colored T-shirts and various pieces within this captivating collection.
Jonathan Anderson expressed his enthusiasm for this project, describing it as a learning experience and an exciting new collaboration. He emphasized the project’s ability to celebrate and elevate existing concepts, rather than simply reinventing them, a quality that resonated deeply with him. Anderson praised A.P.C. for its innate ability to strike the perfect balance and avoid overindulgence, allowing the collection to exude a contemporary yet timeless allure.
Jean Touitou, the Creative Director and founder of A.P.C., echoed Anderson’s sentiments, characterizing their creative exchanges as a quick and productive «ping-pong game.» He highlighted Anderson’s unique talent for transforming ideas into something even more extraordinary. Their collaboration, according to Touitou, propelled them to explore new realms of originality and creativity, inspired by Joseph Beuys’s enigmatic journey aboard an ambulance—an exploration they were eager to embark upon.
The JW Anderson and A.P.C. Joseph Beuys-inspired collection encapsulates the essence of artistic expression, bridging the gap between art and fashion in a unique and thought-provoking manner.