What's With the Influx of Childlike Fashion 'Toys'?
Infantile is trending.
Back in July, JW Anderson launched his second drop of sneakers in collaboration with Converse. Titled the Toy collection, it was the latest in an ongoing series of partnerships -- ranging from Japanese retail behemoth Uniqlo to A$AP Rocky’s creative agency AWGE -- that mark Anderson’s growing ambition to democratise fashion, offering his signature off-kilter design sensibility at a more accessible price point. While Anderson is known for his rigorously intellectual aesthetic, drawing on an encyclopaedic knowledge of 20th century art and British modernism to create challenging new shapes and silhouettes, here the aesthetic was playful to the point of infantile, crafted from candy-coloured patent leather and translucent rubber.
Despite his reputation as an avant-garde trendsetter, Anderson is hardly the first to delve into the kitschier corners of childhood -- tracing the trend back to its origins, you could argue that the Fendi bag bugs were patient zero. First launched in 2013, the furry, googly-eyed charms were seen dangling off the handbags of many a fashionista, lending even the most severe outfit a dose of playful humour. A year later, Fendi’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld riffed on the bugs to create a charm of himself nicknamed the ‘Karlito’ constructed from leather, mink and silver fox fur and available for £950 -- given he employs a full-time maid to look after his cat (also available in toy form) Karl’s not exactly known for his thriftiness, after all. Within weeks, WWD reported that there was a 600-person-strong waiting list. Adorable, or eye-wateringly extravagant?