JLS’ usual formula of function over form is apparent, but that doesn’t mean this season is laid-back, as the label has been able to combine something daring with approachability. Take the chaps, for example. In their completed guise, the pair sees leather shorts suspended to denim jeans with chap-like skin-showing moments in between, but when detached from their denim belted holsters the shorts can easily be worn alone, eschewing any kind of fetishized connotation.
Yet, the fetish motifs continue to appear throughout with upside-down pentagrams forming the back of tanktops and glossy black pleather being used to construct body-covering mac coats with hoods. Some pieces draw inspiration from the German artist Annegret Soltau, whose photomontages of torn pictures that are sewn together to recreate people’s faces influence a leather jacket that’s been haphazardly cracked with a burn-like technique. Worn with a spider web knit and Soltau’s sporadic attitude is explored further, while also nodding to the dark undertones that are littered throughout JLS SS23.
Baggy denim, brought back from the JLS archives, are inspired by the choreographer Akram Khan thanks to their rethought “balance and design” that sees the pants fit and sit on the body more relaxed. Zipped pockets on sweaters and cut-outs on elbows are somewhat voyeuristic, while the convertible zips on the bomber jacket transcend this, taking JLS into a technical new realm indebted by streetwear cues.
As for womenswear, proportions are executed with chaotic amounts of precision, enabling the pants to come up to the bust and meet a denim bustier corset, altogether subverting your average denim jacket. This continues the JLS themes of kink and fetishization, while cuts are explored yet again with the women’s suit that works suspenders into a pair of high-waisted trousers and a cropped sleeveless blazer.
Overall, the latest JLS collection sees the brand double-down on its newfound confidence, seen in its previous collection that also served dark energy. You can explore the John Lawrence Sullivan SS23 “PROGRESSION” collection in the gallery above.
For something a bit lighter, check out St. Vincent’s ’70s-tinged collaboration with GANT.